An opinion article by Lily Rosenberg.
On Monday night we beat the Penguins 3-2 in overtime, thanks to a beautiful goal by Kevin Shattenkirk. That was one of many important moments in the game. The other one happened 5:24 minutes into the first. Sidney Crosby was hit by Alexander Ovechkin’s hockey stick, which sent him flying into Matt Niskanen, who held his stick up to protect himself. Meanwhile Crosby was knocked out by the hockey stick and fell on the ice, hitting his head and sustaining a concussion. It was announced yesterday that he won’t play tonight.
Crosby has recorded 11 points (four goals and seven assists) in the eight games the Penguins have played in the Playoffs. He has four points (two goals and two assists) this round. He has then helped out with four of the 11 goals they’ve scored against the Caps. In the regular season “Sid the Kid” has scored 44 goals and gotten 45 assists adding up to 89 points.
For the Caps, it goes without saying that the Pens playing without Crosby could benefit them. In his NHL career, Crosby has scored 20 goals and 40 assists against the Capitals in the regular season. In addition, he has scored 11 goals and eight assists in the playoffs.
However, it could also really be bad for the Caps. This could be “kicking the hornet’s nest.” No doubt the Penguins are very angry and are likely to be much more damaging towards the Caps–meaning this will be a physical game. Although the Niskanen hit wasn’t intentional and he was trying to protect himself, he will still have a retribution target on his back. And then there is Evgeni Malkin who will step up and take Crosby’s role. The Pens have played 117 games without Crosby, with only one of them in the postseason. During those games Malkin recorded 66 goals and 88 assists.
And lets not forget Phil Kessel with four goals and eight assists in the playoffs so far. Or Marc-Andre Fleury who has been a real block against Caps scoring.
So there are the positives and the negatives for the Caps. We don’t wish ill will on Crosby and hope he will be back to himself soon. That said, all and all I think it will help the Caps not to have him in the game tonight. It is probably going to make them a bit easier to beat and bring the series back to DC.