Connect with us


Penguins Room: Sullivan Explains OT Decision; Nedeljkovic Miffed



Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Nedeljkovic

TORONTO — Sidney Crosby has old-school skates. They often serve him very well, especially in games like Monday, in which he largely dominates the competition.

However, those skates are also a hindrance at times because their blades are not easily replaced. Such was the reason Crosby did not start overtime or see ice time in the extra period, as the Penguins lost 3-2 in OT to Toronto.

Many Penguins fans were angry and questioning coach Mike Sullivan’s unusual decision against Toronto to start Lars Eller, Drew O’Connor, and Erik Karlsson in overtime. The Penguins got the first shot attempt but never again touched the puck. The Penguins’ trio were trapped on the ice for the entirety of the 90-second overtime period.

Many wondered why Eller started instead of Crosby.

Sullivan explained simply, “Sid had a skate issue.”

The Penguins’ four-game winning streak ended, but the result was one of the only disappointing aspects of the game. The Penguins largely outplayed Toronto, and as bummed-out goalie Alex Nedeljkovic said, “We deserved two points.”

Must Read: Penguins Grades, “We Deserved Two Points,” Why Pens Lost in OT

Penguins Locker Room

Sidney Crosby

The Penguins captain pushed. The Crosby line with Bryan Rust and Drew O’Connor seemed to be on the puck all evening. They scored the tying goal in the third period and were the Penguins’ driving force.

It seemed the hockey gods were aiming to hurt Crosby late in the second period. On three consecutive shifts, he was nearly injured. He was taken down by Jake McCabe, slamming his knee off the post. Bobby McCann swatted him in the face (though officials rescinded a four-minute high-sticking penalty, believing it was the puck that hit Crosby. They were partially correct), and Crosby collided with Auston Matthews, taking more than a moment to get up.

“I should have just stayed off the ice after the first one,” he joked.

It was a hard-fought point for the Penguins, and Crosby looked at the glass as half full.


Alex Nedeljkovic

The Penguins goalie was sour following the OT loss. He wasn’t happy with allowing Toronto’s second goal (Matthews) and seemed to indicate that he could have stopped Jake McCabe’s breakaway on the game-winner.

He praised his team, even as he beat himself up a little bit.

“I think we played a better game. We probably deserved two points tonight. (The second goal) was a pretty tough goal to give up … probably a little deflating,” Nedeljkovic said. So it’s pretty tough to give that up. But I give the guys a lot of credit. They battled through it. They battled back and got a good bounce. They went to the net, tied it up, and bailed me out on that aspect.”

The long pauses and scowls tell you the goalie was not happy with himself.


Mike Sullivan

The coach is not usually a happy camper after losses. However, it was an overtime loss in which Crosby wasn’t readily available. The Penguins’ struggles in 3v3 OT continued as Toronto dominated them.

Sullivan explained the overtime problems, even if a solution isn’t quickly available.

Otherwise, the coach wasn’t unhappy with the game. The Penguins limited the high-powered Maple Leafs to only 23 shots, earned a point, and lived to fight another day.