MONTREAL — Erik Karlsson and Sidney Crosby were still discussing one missed power play opportunity as the media poured into the locker room. Ever the perfectionists, both were trying to figure out how they missed each other. The Penguins still scored two power-play goals in three chances but need one of those vintage electrifying performances by Crosby in a 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
The Penguins were rescued by their captain. Crosby scored two goals and assisted on another as the Penguins won the longest shootout in franchise history. They fell behind 2-0 before scoring three unanswered.
In the first period, Crosby kept the Penguins in the game with his 16th goal of the season. He fooled defenseman Kaiden Guhle and swiped the breakout pass. The Penguins captain finished the play by burying Drew O’Connor’s rebound.
Crosby set up Jake Guentzel for a power-play goal in the second period, then scored his 17th of the season with his own power-play tally several minutes later. At age 36, Crosby is on pace for 50 goals and one of the best seasons by a player 36 or older in NHL history.
We begin the Hart Trophy talk.
We also break down other strong and not-so-strong performances for the Penguins, who have won two in a row.
The Penguins captain cooly downplayed his theft on the first goal but admitted it was a bit of trickery that doesn’t often work.
“I think most teams get used to how teams forecheck and stuff. So you time (it), you try to keep them honest. Most times, it doesn’t work, and I’m just chasing. But you know, I got lucky.”
When you keep finding new ways to win the “game within the game” and do it for 19 seasons, it’s not luck. Crosby put on a show against the team that drafted his father and grew up watching.
After his media availability, Crosby confirmed his seats were overlooking the Canadiens’ goal.
Karlsson neither lacks honest assessment nor blunt critiques, sometimes of his own team.
“I think we created enough today to get to deserve this W,” Karlsson said. “Even though it took us, I don’t know how many guys, 12 or 13, in the shootout. Again (goalie Alex Nedeljkovic) made the saves that we needed him to make to keep us in the game. It’s definitely nice to get a win on a back-to-back with the team that we have.”
He also had a little dig for the power play streak.