Sidney Crosby had 15 postseasons worth of experience to his name coming into this series, three Stanley Cups and all.
So in that sense, what he’s done to the Rangers is of little surprise.
After all, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, he’s set quite a high bar. But after Game 4, in which Crosby put up another three points and was — not for the first time this series — the best player on the ice in a 7-2 blowout Pittsburgh victory, Sullivan had to pay him some compliments.
“He’s playing an inspired game,” Sullivan told reporters. “I think he inspires the group just through his actions when he’s on his game the way he is right now.”
All series, the Rangers have had no answer for the Penguins’ top line, for which Crosby drives the bus. Monday night was no different.
Adam Fox lost track of Jake Guentzel on the back side for a goal on which all three forwards picked up a point (Crosby and Bryan Rust on the assists) and the three were on ice for Mike Matheson’s even-strength goal at 3:14 of the second. To add to the disaster, the Penguins’ first power-play unit — headed by Crosby — got on the board after struggling through Game 3, as No. 87 successfully jammed the puck past Igor Shesterkin in the first period, tying the contest at 1-1.
“I think to have that response after getting scored against so early in the game was huge for our team,” Sullivan told reporters. “It helps us get momentum. And it was a real good power play leading up to the goal. And just the fact that the first unit, I thought they executed really well. I thought they were sharp, they were on picks. And just their execution, I think was a lot better and it resulted in the goal.”
Post Sports+ members, sign up to have Mollie Walker text you the latest word on the Rangers and reply with your thoughts and questions. Not a Sports+ member yet? Try it now.
The response, of course, was driven by The Kid.
Crosby has been here before — at this point, it’s possible he’s been here more than just about any active player in the league. He remembers 2016, when the Penguins overwhelmed the Rangers with a backup goaltender in place. And he remembers 2014, when the Rangers returned from a 3-1 series deficit to move on.
Thus, following a victory that gave the Penguins a commanding 3-1 lead in the first round, Crosby was all business.
“I think we know we have a lot of work left,” he said. “When you’re in a game like this, you know you’re gonna see the other team’s best.”
The Penguins have seen nothing near that from the Rangers thus far. But the Rangers have seen all too much of Crosby’s best.
Credit: Source link