New Castle News

Penguins

March 20, 2012

NHL Hockey: Crosby makes immediate impact for surging Pens

PITTSBURGH — Dan Bylsma promised to keep Sidney Crosby’s minutes under control as his star center eased his way back into the lineup following a three-month layoff.

It might be time to take the shackles off.

Crosby collected five assists during Pittsburgh’s three-game road trip through New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia that saw the Penguins pull within a point of the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers with three weeks to go in the season.

Flashing the speed and playmaking that made him the best player in the world before concussion-like symptoms in January 2011 sidelined him for basically 14 months, Crosby skated a combined 49 minutes over four days as Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to 11 straight before falling in the final second of overtime to the Flyers on Sunday.

The former MVP hardly seemed taxed by the workload, his No. 87 a blur during the extra session.

“He looked good, had some jump,” Bylsma said. “You saw that right through the overtime. He had a couple of good opportunities there.”

Crosby came within inches of scoring for the first time since Nov. 21 in the extra period, but his wrister sailed just wide of the net as his goalless streak extended to 10 games, the longest of his career. He is hardly frustrated though considering the way the Penguins are playing.

Paired with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy on the third line, Crosby’s presence has opened up space for his linemates. Cooke scored two goals in New Jersey to give the former agitator a career-best 16 on the season while Kennedy — who never met a shot he didn’t like to take — managed to fire it at the net nine times in 26 minutes of playing time over the weekend.

Bylsma plans to experiment with his lineup over the next two weeks to figure out where Crosby will best fit, though it’s obvious Crosby’s singular talents will have an impact no matter who is skating beside him. Following the most trying stretch of his career, Crosby is hardly picky. He’s simply happy to be rid of the symptoms that wreaked havoc with his life for more than a year.

Though drained a bit by the cramped schedule, Crosby is pleased with his progress.

“I just want to make sure that I am getting better and feeling better each game,” Crosby said. “I think as a group we played really well here in the last few. Most of the time we’ve done some really good things. So, we just want to keep building off that.”

The Penguins picked up five of a possible six points during the road trip and begin a user-friendly stretch at home today against Winnipeg. Pittsburgh plays seven of its final 11 games at Consol Energy Center, including visits by the Devils, Flyers and Rangers.

Still, despite ripping off the longest winning streak of the season, the Penguins weren’t thrilled with the way their run came to an end. Pittsburgh has been lights out when leading by two goals this season and dictated the pace for long stretches on Sunday before Philadelphia roared back in the third period then earned the extra point with 1 second left in overtime.

“We’re not going to walk away feeling like we pat ourselves on the back for the road trip,” Bylsma said. “We wanted to come in here and beat Philadelphia as well but we let that slip away the second half of the game.”

The frenetic action could be a preview of the opening round of the playoffs. If the Penguins or Flyers don’t catch the Rangers they’re almost certain to face each other in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Despite Philadelphia’s spirited rally, the Flyers understand with Crosby back, Pittsburgh is arguably the best team in the league.

“I’m not taking anything away from them, they’ve got a great team, a great lineup, a great goalie and whatever,” Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. “Obviously, they don’t win 11 or 12 games for nothing. They’re a really good team.”

One that is hoping to kickstart another run against the Jets. Bylsma praised his team’s focus for a three-week stretch that saw the Penguins nearly erase New York’s once seemingly invincible division lead.

“You know during the streak you probably couldn’t have told our team we were on a streak,” Bylsma said. “We just picked up and go to the next game.”

And the next game only gets bigger from here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Penguins
  • Pens.jpg NHL Hockey: Jokinen leads Pens past struggling Kings

    Jonathan Quick’s Olympic goaltending audition for U.S. national team coach Dan Bylsma ended after three Pittsburgh goals in one rocky period.

    January 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NHL Hockey: Crosby lifts Pens past Vancouver

    Sidney Crosby tied the score late in regulation and added the only goal in a shootout to rally the Pittsburgh Penguins past the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-4 last night.

    January 8, 2014

  • penguins.jpg Penguins rally by weary Winnipeg, 6-5

    Evgeni Malkin scored twice in his return from injury and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Sunday afternoon.

    January 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pens.jpg NHL Hockey: Bruins snap skid against Pens with OT win

    The surging Boston Bruins said they weren’t fazed by Sidney Crosby’s last-second goal. They proved it in overtime. Torey Krug scored 34 seconds into OT and the Bruins beat Pittsburgh 4-3 yesterday night, snapping a seven-game, regular-season losing streak to the Penguins in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.

    November 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • Pens.jpg NHL Hockey: Pens erupt in third to down Ducks

    When Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma shuffled the lines in search of a spark for his slumping offense, putting Evgeni Malkin and rookie Brian Gibbons on the ice together wasn’t what he had in mind. Still, he’ll take it.

    November 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • NHL Hockey: Colorado shuts down Crosby, Pens

    Sidney Crosby left little doubt about who remains the best player from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. That’s fine by Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche. At the moment, they’ll settle for one of the best records in the NHL.

    October 22, 2013

  • NHL Hockey: Crosby, Pens stay hot, drop Oilers 3-2

    Evgeni Malkin stood in the right circle just watching the play unfold in front of him when the puck suddenly materialized on his stick with nary a soul around. The empty net never had a chance.

    October 16, 2013

  • Penguins Hockey: Crosby, Fleury lead Pittsburgh past Devils

    The Pittsburgh Penguins stuck with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the offseason, convinced two straight playoff meltdowns have not robbed the former Stanley Cup winner of his confidence. The early returns are promising.

    October 4, 2013

  • Kunitz.jpg Pens sign Kunitz to three-year extension

    Sidney Crosby will keep at least one linemate around for the long haul. The Pittsburgh Penguins and forward Chris Kunitz agreed to a three-year contract extension on Thursday that could keep him playing alongside Crosby until the 2016-17 season.

    June 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Pens.jpg Eastern Conference Finals: Bruins sweep Pens out of playoffs

    The Bruins defense shut down the potent Pittsburgh Penguins throughout the Eastern Conference finals. Then a Boston defenseman scored the goal that sealed the stunning sweep.

    June 8, 2013 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Are you concerned enough about the Heartbleed bug on the Internet to change all of your social media and website passwords?

Yes. It’s always a good idea to change passwords regularly anyway. I just have so many, I’m not sure where to start.
No. From what I’ve read, companies are still trying to figure out how to fix the flaw. The bad guys will just have access to my NEW passwords, too.
Not sure, but I blame Al Gore. He invented the Internet, right? How’s he going to get us out of this mess?
     View Results