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Penguins Analysis: Crosby Drives to Vital Win; What Pens Did Differently (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry

The Pittsburgh Penguins were essentially playing with the pressure of a Game 7, while the Detroit Red Wings could play freely. The pressure and lack of shaped the start as the Penguins’ first few minutes featured ugly turnovers by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

Then the team found its footing and smothered — absolutely smothered — Detroit 5-1 at Little Caesars Arena.

Maligned Penguins center Jeff Carter stole the puck at center ice midway through the opening period after several minutes of heavy Detroit pressure. Things looked bleak until Carter’s swipe and odd-man rush. A few moments later, recent call-up Alex Nylander scored.

And Sidney Crosby charged. He scored and created a rebound that Danton Heinen buried midway through the second period.

And then the Penguins did the worst thing they could do. They led 3-0. Within seconds of a 3-0 lead, they led 3-1.

But Crosby scored again in the third period. The Red Wings did not.

“He seems to have just an incredible ability to play his very best when the stakes are the highest. And I think I think that’s why the Penguins have been able to accomplish what they’ve been able to accomplish here over the last X amount of years that Sid has been playing,” said coach Mike Sullivan. “(Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin), you could speak to those guys as well. These guys, they’ve just built an incredible legacy, and they have an appetite for more.”

For the remainder of regulation against the obviously faster Red Wings, the Penguins showed a skill they’ve only recently learned.

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