It was an eventful night for Sidney Crosby.
First, the bad.
A little less than five minutes into the Penguins-Sabres game, the Sabres had control in Pittsburgh’s zone and centre Ryan O’Reilly was trying to find some open ice in front of the net. Behind him, Crosby swooped into the slot and gave O’Reilly a nice whack with the stick to the groin area, dropping O’Reilly to the ice and leading to a Penguins chance the other way. No penalty.
“Sid you’re in trouble,” said Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret.
A few minutes later, Sabres defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen blew up Jake Guentzel with a brutal hit as the Penguins forward never saw him and the puck never made it to him either. There was some question of how much of this was payback for Crosby’s shot on O’Reilly, or if it was just an accident from a player anticipating a big hit. Either way, Ristolainen looked locked for destruction, for which he got five minutes, a game misconduct, and a possible suspension.
Next, the good.
Crosby scored on a highlight reel play that should stand up as a goal of the year candidate. And it’s amazing for a few reasons. First, watch as Crosby carries the puck through the neutral zone without anyone on him, and slows to a glide as he looks for a spot to break into. Nothing good can come from giving someone like Crosby time and space.
When he sees an opening, Crosby hits the jets and catches all of the Sabres defenders flat-footed as he blazes across the blue line, splits the defencemen, and goes in for a one-on-one chance against Robin Lehner in the dying seconds of the first period.
But the best part of all? The goal was scored with one hand.
And finally, the ugly.
Late in the game, while trying to score his second goal into an empty net, Crosby took an Evander Kane high stick to the mouth, for which the Sabres forward picked up four minutes. Sure, Crosby may have sold the play a bit, throwing his head back and losing a glove as he fell to the ice. But — it was certainly solid contact, as you’ll see it knocked a few teeth out of Crosby’s head.
“Uhhhhh, OK, I’ll let it go…but…” Jeanneret said.
If he had scored there, Crosby would have moved back into a tie with Connor McDavid for the league points lead.
Instead? He gets a trip to the dentist’s chair.