Sidney Crosby (via NHL.com)
Sidney Crosby went eight games without finding the back of the net, but now he’s got back-to-back game-winning goals in the Eastern Conference final. After an OT winner in Game 2, Crosby teed off on a one-timer to score the deciding goal midway through the third period of Game 3.
Much had been made about Sidney Crosby’s cold streak heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final. The Penguins captain hadn’t scored in eight-straight games and had been held to only three points over that span. Everyone knew it wouldn’t last, though.
In Game 2, Crosby finally broke through with the overtime game-winner only 40 seconds into the first extra frame, and now it appears like he could be on a much different streak as he’s scored the game-winning goal in back-to-back games. And for the second-consecutive game, he’s managed the game-winner on a one-time blast going upstairs on Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Crosby’s winner in Game 3 came midway through the third period with the Penguins already ahead a goal. After Tampa Bay blueliner Braydon Coburn headed off for elbowing, Pittsburgh’s power play went to work on a 4-on-3, and the open ice gave Crosby room to operate to the right of the net. After a pass to Evgeni Malkin on the blueline, Crosby opened up for a one-timer, took a pass back from Malkin and hammered the puck past Vasilevskiy:
It’s hard not to feel bad for Vasilevskiy, who looks defeated after allowing his third goal against of the contest. There was almost no stopping Crosby’s shot, though, and the 21-year-old ended up turning aside 44 shots in the contest.
While Crosby’s goal was at the time the insurance marker, the Lightning would get a late goal from Ondrej Palat that allowed Crosby’s power play goal to stand as the game-winner. Sure, his Game 3 game-winning goal doesn’t have quite the drama of the one prior, but it still stands as the tally that sealed the victory — and series lead — for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh’s win puts them ahead 2-1 in the conference final with a chance to take both games from the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Wednesday’s victory also makes the Penguins the only team remaining in the post-season that hasn’t lost consecutive games.