What Crosby Drought?

Eight games without a goal. It doesn’t seem so bad right? Lots of NHL players go much longer than that without putting the puck into the net. If you add five assists during those eight games you might even call it a hot streak. Except it’s Sydney Crosby we’re talking about and eight games without a goal is not only unusual but almost panic inducing. The truth is that almost any game without a Crosby goal could be called a drought. If we really think about it we’d probably admit to ourselves that every time number 87 touches the puck anywhere past the blue line we’re surprised if it doesn’t go in.

Needless to say then that going into Game 2 of the Penguins Lightning series Pittsburgh fans were beyond thrilled to have their star Captain put one over the shoulder of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shoulder in overtime. Not only did it break Crosby’s goal-less streak and tie the series at 1-1, it also gave Crosby his first career playoff OT goal, which seems unbelievable for a man many consider to be the most clutch player in the NHL.

The shot came 40 seconds into the first overtime period when teammate Bryan Rust dropped the puck back to Crosby who one-timed it into the top left corner of the net. It was a huge goal for Crosby and a timely one for Pittsburgh, giving them a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay and a ticket to Game 3 tied up rather than down two.

No one was more relieved than Crosby. “It definitely tests your patience sometimes. You've just got to focus on going back out there and trying to create,” he said after the game. “It feels good to get rewarded.”

The eight game goalless streak tied the longest playoff drought of Crosby’s career but any frustrations he might have had didn’t show in his overall efforts. If anything it seemed to drive him harder as he peppered Vasilevskiy with six solid shots over the course of the game. The Tampa Bay goalie wasn’t giving an inch of space however, notching 38 saves including a spectacular glove save on a Crosby backhand in the second period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper recognized the young tender’s performance saying, “Vasi was probably the reason the game went into overtime in the first place.”

With the streak behind him and the series tied, Crosby and the Penguins hope to take the lead in Game 3, which takes place at Amelie Arena in Tampa. Many Pittsburgh fans wonder whether Crosby’s Game 2 winner was the beginning of a hot streak or another cold spell but Lightning coach Cooper doesn’t know that it matters, pointing out that a cold streak for Crosby is a hot streak for most everyone else.