GAME 5

PPG PAINTS ARENA JUNE 8, 2017

The Hockey News - - The First Word -

LOVE HIM OR hate him – and those two camps seem to be fairly equal in size – there is no dis­put­ing Sid­ney Crosby was put on Earth to play hockey. He lives for big mo­ments and, more of­ten than not, he de­liv­ers. That was with­out a doubt the case in Game 5 when Crosby, from his first spec­tac­u­lar shift of the game, took his team­mates on his back and willed them to a 6-0 win. He had three as­sists in the game, and we were once again left mar­veling at his ca­pa­bil­i­ties. “I don’t know that I’ve been around an ath­lete, not just a hockey player but an ath­lete, that is as driven as Sid is,” said Pen­guins coach Mike Sul­li­van. “I think Sid re­ally un­der­stands the op­por­tu­nity that this team has, and he’s not tak­ing any­thing for granted.” It seemed Crosby, who was by far the Pen­guins’ best player in their Game 4 loss, was in­sis­tent upon put­ting his fin­ger­prints on ev­ery as­pect of the game. Late in the first pe­riod when he and P.K. Sub­ban got tan­gled up behind the Pen­guins net, Crosby took Sub­ban down and drilled his head into the ice no fewer than half a dozen times, with ref­eree Brad Meier stand­ing feet away and watch­ing the whole thing be­fore giv­ing each player a mi­nor penalty. Crosby and his team­mates were one win away from be­com­ing the first back-to­back cham­pi­ons in al­most two decades. But they faced a huge chal­lenge try­ing to win in Nashville, where the lo­cals wanted the Coun­try Mu­sic Awards to be the only baubles given out there that weekend. Of the Pen­guins’ four Stan­ley Cups, none had come on home ice. That set them up well for Game 6, but with the way these play­offs had played out it was best not to ex­pect any­thing con­ven­tional.

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