PITTSBURGH – No one was more dominant in the faceoff circle during Wednesday’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final than Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. He won 17 of his 24 draws, including the biggest of the night, when he pulled the puck back to Kris Letang to generate Conor Sheary’s overtime score.
According to Logan Couture, Crosby has success in the faceoff circle because “he cheats.”
How does he cheat?
“He times them, and they don’t kick him out for some reason probably because of who he is,” Couture said.
Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, on the ice for the game-winner, also indicated that Crosby shouldn’t have been permitted to take the draw against Joel Ward.
When asked how he saw the overtime goal develop, Vlasic said: “They just won a draw and scored. Maybe [Crosby] should have been kicked out. Took awhile to get into the faceoff, but what do I know?”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Sheary's OT goal gives Penguins 2-0 lead over Sharks]
After Crosby won the faceoff to Letang, the Penguins defenseman faked a shot on Couture, opening up Sheary between the circles. The rookie lifted in his second goal of the series and fourth of the playoffs to give the Penguins the commanding two-games-to-none lead.
Pittsburgh couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
“It’s one of those things – guys have to execute, you have to make the pass,” Crosby said. “That’s exactly what they did. Usually the center kind of calls the play and I think those guys deserve a lot more credit than me.”
Martin Jones, who was arguably the Sharks’ best player in Game 2 with 28 saves, simply called it a “shot, with traffic.”
Game 3 is in San Jose on Saturday.