DETROIT – Just like after Games 1 and 2 of last year's Stanley Cup Final, Sidney Crosby has something in common with a game of tic-tac-toe.
They're both pointless.
While Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins haven't been thoroughly dominated by the Detroit Red Wings like they were last year, the bottom line remains the same – Pittsburgh is going home down 2-0 in the series despite a slew of great chances involving Crosby during Sunday night's 3-1 loss in Game 2.
However, Crosby wasn't showing an ounce of frustration about his second goose egg on the score sheet in as many nights.
"No," Crosby said bluntly when asked if he felt his line needed to do more. "I mean, we're doing good things. That's the game sometimes. It's just tight hockey. You get a quick chance, either you put it in or you don't."
Crosby's best chance at getting his first goal and point of the series came early in the third period with the Penguins trailing 2-1. He found himself all alone at the side of net, 1-on-1 with Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood. A quick wrist shot hit the far post, but it bounced right back to Crosby.
With Osgood down, Crosby fired the puck on net again. This time, the shot was blocked and covered – legally – by a sprawling Henrik Zetterberg. The play was reviewed, but there was no video evidence to overturn the no-goal call on the ice.
"He was pretty deep (in the crease). It was pretty close. It was hard to see," Crosby said when asked if he thought the puck crossed the line. "I thought he covered it. I don't think it got under Osgood. When there's a big scramble like that, it's tough for the refs to get a good look. They have to be absolutely sure if they're going to call a penalty shot in the Stanley Cup Final."
Just a minute after Crosby nearly tied the score, Justin Abdelkader compounded the frustration by extending the Red Wings' lead to 3-1.
If Crosby was playing horseshoes or lobbing hand grenades, his night would've been a major success, because he came oh-so-close on several occasions, both as a shooter and as a passer.
With six minutes remaining in the third, Crosby fired a shot while streaking down the left wing, but Osgood flashed his left pad to make one of his five saves against the Penguins' star.
In the second period, Crosby set up Bill Guerin with beautiful passes on consecutive shifts. Guerin ripped the first chance off the post, and when he found himself all alone in front of the net on the second opportunity, he redirected Crosby's pass wide of the net.
"Those are opportunities that hopefully we're going to start burying," Guerin said. "We're getting chances. We're going to take that as a positive out of the last two games. Obviously we don't like the results, and we're not happy where we are, but we are where we are and we got to work our way out of it."
Crosby didn't earn an assist on Evgeni Malkin's first-period power-play goal, but it was his slap shot from the right circle that started the net-mouth scramble that led to the Pens taking a 1-0 lead.
Despite their best efforts, the Penguins left Detroit once again facing the daunting task of having to beat the Red Wings four times in the next five games. Crosby and his teammates will need to find a way to turn these chances into goals in a hurry for Pittsburgh to get back in this series.
"We know that our game can be successful," Crosby said. "We truly believe if we play the same way, we're going to come out on the right side of things. We just need to make sure we stick to things, keep playing the same way we are and bear down on our chances."
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