Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh are heating up, and doing so right on time. With the playoffs near, a hot Crosby is a game-changer.
Their latest burst of heat came Thursday night at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. Crosby netted two goals against Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack to seal the come from behind win, 4-2.
— Hurricanes Fan Zone (@Hurricanes_FZ) March 19, 2016
If the kid gets hot, anything can happen, and at this point in the season, it’s very, very timely.
Of course, one game does not necessarily tell the whole tale, but Crosby has been putting up points consistently of late. In the last ten games he has gotten on the board, notching 6 goals and 7 assists. He is in the top five in the NHL in total points with 72 and in the top 10 in goals scored with 31.
A couple of days ago Pierre LeBrun of ESPN wrote that Crosby might be worthy of consideration for the Hart Trophy, given to the player judged most valuable to his team. LeBrun admitted that Patrick Kane is the front-runner for the Hart, but Crosby should be getting a serious look, also.
The added firepower that the Penguins bring to the ice in Evgeni Malkin has been missing for part of the season due to injuries. Malkin was out in February with a lower-body injury, and is out again for 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury. The speculation is that the injury is to Malkin’s left arm or wrist. And while described as season-ending, Malkin could possibly be back if the Penguins make a deep run in the playoffs.
“In Malkin’s absence they are going to need Sidney Crosby to continue carry the offense, something he has done for most of the past four months…”
The point is that Crosby has been helping the team and doing so without Malkin. Of course, that’s what is expected of a team captain, especially when many think of you as the best player in the NHL. Crosby does not shy away from those expectations.
Watch out East
As of this writing there is still quite a battle going on for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. At NHL.com the standings show that the Penguins have 84 points, first in the Wild Card, and one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who have 85. Pittsburgh has been able to put a little separation between itself and the Detroit Red Wings who have 81 points, but every game is crucial at this point in the season.
The Pens face the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon in a crucial game that the Flyers would love to win and move from 80 points to 82.
— Steelers Takeaways 🌗 (@PittsburghSport) March 19, 2016
In my opinion, Crosby is the key. If he continues to heat up and lead the Penguins as he has been doing, the rest of the playoff contenders will definitely need to watch out. Crosby is one of the few players in the NHL that can carry his team, and he is proving that once again.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.