NHL: Crosby credits puck luck for start
Sidney Crosby started last season with the worst slump of his career. This year, even delayed by concussion, Crosby is off to one of his best starts, with eight goals in six games.
He entered Monday tied for the league lead, despite playing only half the games. He has a 38.1 per cent shooting percentage (eight goals on 21 shots).
“I got a couple good bounces,” Crosby said. “When that’s happening, you’re just trying to keep shooting the puck and trust that it will go in.”
Finding the range: The Jimmy Vesey-powered Rangers have scored at least five goals in five straight games. They are 10-3 overall and 8-0 when scoring at least five goals this season. The Rangers have outscored their opponents 26-8 during this five-game winning streak. “You think it’s gonna stop, but we keep getting to five,” said Marc Staal.
Another drought: Now that the Cubs won the World Series, it’s up to the Blackhawks to end a different kind of drought. The last time a city has been home to the reigning Stanley Cup and World Series champions was 1939-40. The Yankees won the Fall Classic in 1939, the Rangers the Cup in 1940. In 2009, the Penguins and Steelers reigned as NHL and NFL champions in Pittsburgh. It hasn’t happened with the NBA, with the Sharks missing a chance in June to join Golden State as champions in the San Francisco area.
Down time: In a bid to keep captain Alex Ovechkin fresh through the playoffs, the Capitals are limiting his ice time. He is averaging the fewest minutes of his career, according to the Washington Post. His average time on ice this year has been 18:31, down from 20:19 last season and 21:16 over his career. “He doesn’t play a light game; he plays a heavy game,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It may not feel great sometimes right now, but hopefully game 92 and 93 and 94, when we get into that, that’s when you’ll see, hopefully, the effect of sort of spreading the minutes about.”
Lightning quick: Things are normal around the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Quiet and normal. There are no looming contract issues, no players demanding trades. It’s a welcome change for Steve Stamkos. “This year has just been a lot easier with regard to coming in with a clear mind. I tried to do my best last year leaving it at home, but it’s still in the back of your mind.”
Comings and goings: The Blackhawks signed 2016 second-rounder Alex DeBrincat to an entry-level deal. DeBrincat leads the OHL with 17 goals . . . Thomas Vanek, whose lower-body injury has gone from “more of a weekto-week injury than a day-to-day,” according to Detroit coach Jeff Blashil, has been placed on long-term injured reserve . . . Columbus defenceman Seth Jones is expected to miss three weeks with a hairline fracture in his foot. Kevin McGran
Sidney Crosby, with eight goals in six games, was tied for the league lead despite health issues.