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Stanley Cup Final

Crosby dismisses comments that he cheats on faceoffs

Says it's 'not a coincidence' that accusations come after he won 71 percent of draws in Game 2

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

SAN JOSE -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby smiled Friday when asked about San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture's comments that Crosby cheats on faceoffs and gets away with it because of his stature.

"Yeah, I mean, I didn't expect that one," Crosby said after practice. "I have one good game in the faceoff circle and all of a sudden I'm cheating on faceoffs. So probably not a coincidence there."

Crosby won an offensive-zone faceoff against Sharks forward Joel Ward in overtime of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, leading to the goal by forward Conor Sheary that gave the Penguins a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 3 is at SAP Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Crosby won 17 of 24 faceoffs (71 percent) in Game 2. Afterward, Couture was asked why Crosby was so challenging on faceoffs.

"He cheats," Couture said.

He cheats?

"He gets away with it," Couture said. "He's Sidney Crosby."

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.

Asked to give more context for his comments Friday, Couture said: "Everyone cheats on faceoffs. I cheat. [Sharks center Joe Thornton] cheats. That's how you try and win draws. He's one of the best at it, and he wins a lot of faceoffs."

Video: Faceoff follies take center stage in Game 2

Crosby agreed.

"I think we're all doing the same thing in the faceoff circle," Crosby said. "I don't think anyone's found a habit or a tendency that someone else doesn't do. I think we all do the same thing. So yeah, I don't know what to say, really."

Couture said he was not trying to send a message to the officials.

"Not at all," Couture said. "No. These guys are the best in the world at what they do. I've got no complaints with the officials. Throughout these playoffs, they've been very, very good."

No one had an issue with the faceoff that led to the winning goal. Crosby won it cleanly.

"The puck went in," Ward said. "It was my fault on the play. I lost a pretty key draw. I've just got to be better. That's the bottom line."

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