The last 14 images CBC viewers saw before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, set to the wistful tones of Radiohead's "Karma Police," all involved Sidney Crosby. There was Crosby's turnover from Game 2, leading to Brad Marchand's breakaway goal, and then there was sad Crosby, Crosby falling down, Crosby getting tripped, Crosby shooting a puck directly into Tuukka Rask's gut, sad Crosby, Crosby getting hit, Crosby getting hit again, sad Crosby, a sad child in a comical Penguins hat, Crosby jawing at Zdeno Chara, Crosby taking a long, wistful walk, sad Crosby fading into a skyline, and sad Crosby looming over the same skyline. It was a fine introduction to four more hours of sad Crosby, culminating in a helmetless double-overtime shift in which the former MVP had a shot blocked, a pass from behind the net come to nothing, and a setup for Pascal Dupuis denied by Rask. Sixteen seconds later, the Bruins won on Patrice Bergeron's goal, and Boston had a 3-0 series lead heading into Friday's Game 4. Crosby has been held without a point in a career high-tying three straight playoff games. The last time that happened, it wasn't such a big deal—the drought's third leg was Game 7 of the 2009 Finals, a game that ended with Crosby accepting the Stanley Cup from Gary Bettman. Now, the Penguins are on the brink of disaster, and Crosby's most notable moments of the series have been the Chara confrontation in Game 1, the turnover in Game 2, and coming up short at the end of Game 3. In 33:07 of ice time on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Crosby had six shot attempts. His linemates, Dupuis and Chris Kunitz, combined for 12, including Kunitz's goal off a cycle that started with Crosby's faceoff win. Nobody seems to want to say it, but the expectation is for Crosby, both as captain and as The Best Player In The World, to lift his team. By and large, he has not. A tell: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma's responses to a pair of questions on Thursday. When asked whether his top line is producing enough chances to "get to a place where you feel confident," Bylsma responded on a wider basis, saying, "We've gotten (chances) from all four lines, from our top two lines that have had those opportunities, from our power play that has had those looks. But we haven't scored those goals. We haven't gone post and in." They have gone post and out. Crosby hit one in Game 3, as did Evgeni Malkin, among 21 shot attempts for the second-line center who happened to be the league's MVP last season. Malkin, like Crosby, has gone without a point in the series, so Bylsma was asked if he needs his "big-name guys to score, to carry the team at this point." Remember, Bylsma has two former MVPs on his roster. So, does he need his big-name guys to score, to carry the team at this point? "We've got one game in front of us, one game to win," Bylsma said, stalling. "We don't need—we don't need Pascal Dupuis to score a goal for us to win a game. We need one person to score, one individual to score last night. We had plenty of opportunities to get that, from our top guy to Craig Adams hitting the post there in overtime, with that opportunity. We need to win a hockey game and our team needs to win a hockey game, and it's right in front of us for Game 4." Pascal Dupuis. Craig Adams. What about Sidney Crosby? What about Evgeni Malkin? Even Boston coach Claude Julien did not want to mention Crosby by name on Thursday, responding to a question about whether his team has defended better against Crosby or Malkin.
Crosby, somehow falling short — with Bruins' help
Sporting News | Jun 7