Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby finds new “kids” to play with

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Sidney Crosby
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Sidney Crosby /

The Pittsburgh Penguins laid into the Isles on Friday and Sidney Crosby found himself playing on a line with some “new kids”.

This team is wildly inconsistent. Luckily on Friday, the Pittsburgh Penguins were on an up trend. After playing one of their worst games of the season on Thursday, the Pens bounced back with a 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders.

Sidney Crosby hasn’t put up superstar stats this season, but had a hand in all four goals scored Friday.

Coach Mike Sullivan has been changing line combinations in an effort to get the team gong offensively, and “new kids” Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon were placed on the top line with Crosby.

The connection didn’t come immediately, but 41 seconds into the second period, #41 scored his first of the season. Simon made a play that led to a  two on one with Crosby leading down the left side. Sprong snuck behind New York defenseman Nick Leddy and buried a perfect pass.

The line would connect again later in the second. Sid was dancing in the offensive zone, and dished to Sprong who immediately threw a shot on net. Sid picked up the rebound from almost behind the goal line and banked it in off Jaroslav Halak.

In the third, Sprong carried the puck to the middle of the ice and sniped a corner over Halak’s shoulder. Crosby was on the ice, and gained coverage from two NYI players, giving Sprong enough room to secure a decent shooting angle.

The stat line looked like this:

Sidney Crosby – 1 G, 3 A, +3, 19:22 TOI

Daniel Sprong – 2 G, 1A, +3, 15:49 TOI

Dominik Simon – 2A, +3, 12:55 TOI

Going Forward

We can expect to see this line stay together. Getting Sidney Crosby to play like his superstar self is vital for this team to succeed. Sprong and Simon currently bring out the best in him.

They had success thanks to Sid’s ability to draw attention from the defense, and the other two’s ability to get open. Sprong’s shot first mentality led to a handful of chances, and Simon’s solid play in both ends earned him two secondary assists last night.

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Bob Errey mentioned in the broadcast that “Sid liked right handed wingers”, and that was evident last night. On all three goals, that first line benefited from the fact that Sprong’s shot (which is lethal) came from a righty.

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to stay hot after this win. It seems like it’s win one, lose one and time is running out in the season for all that jazz. They’ll host Boston at 7:30 on Sunday, their last game before their five days off.