Crosby set up an even-strength goal against the Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals double-overtime win Thursday, increasing his playoff point total to 20; he's accumulated seven goals and 13 assists.
The all-world pivot was held pointless in three games of the grueling series versus Ottawa, but he'll look to expose a Nashville team that has been dampened at the center spot due to the loss of Ryan Johansen, who underwent emergency surgery on his thigh following a Game 4 loss to the Ducks. We know you'll be starting him every chance you get, and the better debate at this point is whether he'll justify a higher fantasy draft selection than Connor McDavid, who'll be wrapping his mitts around the Art Ross Trophy at the awards ceremony in June.
Crosby scored a power-play goal and added an assist in Friday's Game 4 win over Ottawa.
This was the first multi-point showing in seven games for Crosby, and the Penguins will need their superstar to continue driving the bus to clinch a berth to the Stanley Cup finals. It's also worth noting that No. 87 registered five shots on net, which was a personal high for the series. With a goal in consecutive games, Crosby is now up to six tallies and 17 points through 15 playoff games heading into a critical Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena.
Crosby was positioned perfectly inside the crease to deflect Phil Kessel's shot, and the stud pivot went five-hole for his first goal since lighting the lamp twice in Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Capitals. It'll be interesting to see how Crosby responds after this frustrating outcome. During the regular season, he posted 72 of his 89 points with a plus-37 rating in Pittsburgh's wins, but had just 17 in 28 and a minus-20 spot when slapped with a loss.
Crosby has missed the scoresheet in both games of the Eastern Conference finals and hasn't posted a multi-point showing since Game 2 against Washington on April 29.
Crosby has continued to look dangerous, and he does have three assists during that six-game stretch without a multi-point showing. Additionally, he's been on the ice for eight high-danger scoring chances through the first two games of the series against Ottawa to lead all Pittsburgh forwards. It would be surprising to see No. 87 continue to struggle offensively much longer.
Crosby was on the ice for the start of practice Tuesday, Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Social media has exploded with talk of Crosby bypassing concussion protocol in Game 6, despite his crashing head first into the boards. Since the star pivot's head didn't hit the ice or another player, the NHL claims that the proper procedures were followed in this particular instance, as reported by USA TODAY. It's worth noting that Crosby logged 19:57 of ice time -- which exceeded his average during the regular season -- and he even pitched in an assist on the way to the Game 6 loss. Perhaps the only anomaly is that he only fired one shot on goal. This latest report included video of Crosby shooting pucks into an open net during practice, and there's been no indication that he'll miss Game 7 on the road Wednesday.