We're Entering "Sid Season", as NHL Postseason Nears

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Wednesday night was not kind to the Pittsburgh Penguins. On the second night of a back-to-back, Pittsburgh looked like a tired, disinterested team that had to travel to an inferior teams' city.  Somehow, they clawed and scratched their way to the a loser's point against Buffalo in a game they should’ve lost by a handful of goals.

Backup goaltender Casey DeSmith didn’t play his best game but neither did the guys in front of him.  The Penguins received goals from Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. In a game where the rest of the team lagged, Pittsburgh’s big three tried to save the day. Previously undefeated in the last nine occurrences when all three scored in the same game, the Penguins lost this one in a shootout.

But speaking of Crosby, we all remember his struggles out of the gate this season upon his return from hernia surgery and then his bout with COVID, right?  He looked like an aging star who might have finally begun to slow down ever so slightly. That didn’t last long.

Crosby now has 23 goals and 66 points in 53 games. Assuming he stays healthy for the remainder of the season, Crosby has 17 more games to add to those totals. He very well could hit the 30-goal mark for the first time since the 2018-19’ season and have his most points since that season as well.  To be fair, that was the last full season played in the NHL so he still posted two largely productive seasons in between then and now.

But that's to be expected as Crosby is largely productive every year. There are times he’ll fade into the background on occasion, and the rest of the team will pick up the slack. But as long as he’s been a Pittsburgh Penguin, it’s not too often that he disappears for more than a handful of games at a time.

Crosby now has eight goals in his last 11 games. In addition to just goal scoring, Crosby also has 19 points over the last month.  There are not many players playing better than Crosby right now. There never really is.

At 34-years old, Crosby continues to be one of the most dominant players in the game on a nightly basis. He still wins every puck battle. His hockey sense and instincts are still top-3 in the entire league. We are blessed to watch him every night.

Crosby is going to be playing in the postseason for the 16th consecutive time. His rookie season was the only year he did not have the chance to play for a Stanley Cup. That’s a testament to both him and the front office for continually making sure the Penguins have a chance to win.

Every year, when the stakes get higher, so does Sidney Crosby’s game. He knows that the games are going to get very important very soon.  The Penguins are going to play 11 games of their final 17 against teams with playoff aspirations. While Pittsburgh themselves are virtually locked in, they’d like to finish strong, guarantee home-ice in the first round, and maybe even overtake Carolina for first place in the Metropolitan. After all, they’re only two points back of the Canes.

If things stand as they do now, the Penguins and Rangers will meet in round one of the playoffs. Pittsburgh has been stopped in round one of the playoffs for three consecutive years which makes those Stanley Cups feel like forever ago.

Crosby has a measly six points in his last 14 playoff games. Many of the Penguins’ recent playoff struggles could arguably fall on his shoulders because the team goes as Crosby goes. As driven as Crosby is, you know for a fact those numbers and the Penguins’ lack of recent playoff success is eating away at him.

Rangers goalie, Igor Shesterkin, is having a Vezina worthy season for New York. While his lack of playoff experience is a factor, the Penguins may not last long if he continues to play the way he has this year. But there’s something about seeing the Rangers, especially in the playoffs, that always seems to ignite Crosby.

He has 21 points in 22 career playoff games against the Rangers. Much of that success came against Henrik Lundqvist, an all-time great that Crosby still found a way to own over the course of his career.

Sidney Crosby continues to dazzle and lead the Penguins to heights they may never achieve again once he’s gone. Of course, Malkin and Letang are a huge part of that success but Crosby is the heart and soul behind the team.

With this being potentially the final season that this core will spend together, don’t think Crosby doesn’t have that thought in the back of his mind. We may see another version of Crosby this postseason that we’ve somehow never seen to this point.

As we approach the final stretch of games before we reach the playoff, I’d like to welcome you to “Sid Season”.

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