The captain was fired up last night, as we assumed he would be against a heated division rival, and after brawling with a couple Blue Jackets early on, Sidney Crosby carried his play into three-on-three overtime. 3v3 is already exciting enough, what with the constant 2-on-1’s it creates, but add the best player in the world on a line with Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang, and you’ll have ridiculously skilled sequences in the offensive zone.
That’s exactly what happened halfway through the first OT. In his second shift, Crosby hopped onto the ice hell bent on stealing a point from Columbus after a pretty passionate game during regulation. What he managed to do in the minute or so shift he had was unbelievable and quite the treat for any hockey fan — Pittsburgh-affiliated or not.
Let’s break it down in four simple segments.
From the jump, Crosby’s ridiculous skating ability eludes Josh Anderson thanks to his edges and sets him up for a course to his favorite part of the ice to quarterback from: behind the opposing team’s cage. Anderson, clearly beat, tries pushing Crosby from behind, only to assist him around the net, losing his stick in the process. In the mean time, Crosby’s protecting the puck with just his right hand and fighting off any checks from the right winger, which takes more strength than I could explain in a couple key strokes.
With Anderson’s stick gone, Crosby swoops back around to the point, switching places with Letang, as he rounds the ice for a second circling of the net. Poor Anderson is gassed and stick-less, looking completely out-matched while playing man-to-man. He gets turned around by Crosby a couple times during the sequence and is forced to make another go around the net with him.
Crosby then stops abruptly, eluding Anderson’s second check (read: push) attempt, and giving him what seemed like a clear shot on Sergei Bobrovsky — who was protecting his right post perfectly from any pucks squeaking in, as Bobrovsky normally does.
With Crosby down, Anderson finally lands that two-hand shove he’s so desperately tried for almost 20 seconds, knocking 87 down to the ice. Set up opportunity’s over, right?
Not for The Kid.
On his stomach, he doesn’t give up on the play. Crosby’s head is up and his eyes are still surveying the chunk of open ice at the top of the point where Letang is waiting for a pass. Crosby pulls the puck away from Anderson and saucers it to 58.
Letang, who you may have thought would’ve taken that shot, has big bodied Seth Jones ready to make the block right in front of him. So he holds, waits for Crosby to get back up on his skates, and shovels a pass to him for a great scoring try over Bobrovsky’s blocker side shoulder that unfortunately goes wide.
It doesn’t tickle the twine and lock the OT win, but it was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Crosby’s puck handling and vision is basically unfair to the majority of defenses in this league, and he made Anderson look like a fool.
Here’s the sequence in full. We can’t stop watching.