– Sidney Crosby
is known for making the highlight reels for his magical stick work that leads to gorgeous goals and jaw-dropping assists, not for chopping at an opposing player after a game is over.
But that's exactly what Crosby was talking about with reporters following the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
On the two-year anniversary of being named the youngest captain (19 years, 9 months) in NHL history, Crosby responded to some words from Detroit's Kirk Maltby
, but not with words of his own.
"He was doing what he always does, he was giving guys lip service and things like that," Crosby said of what started the dust-up with Maltby. "I two-handed him on top of the foot there as we were skating by. So he felt like it was necessary to keep talking after the game, and I thought I'd whack him and that was it."
Crosby showed that sort of grit and scrappiness throughout the contest.
Halfway through the first period, Crosby was chasing a loose puck in the neutral zone. Unable to track it down, he decided to send Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg
flying with an open-ice hit. Later in the game, Crosby looked like a goalie who was stacking his pads, sliding in front of his crease to stifle a Zetterberg shot.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock took notice of Crosby's effort on Saturday.
"Crosby to me looked very, very determined tonight," Babcock said. "I thought Crosby went to Zetterberg in the neutral zone, got him in the crosscheck. That's just being competitive."
Although he was held to just two shots on goal in Game 1, Crosby still generated a couple of memorable scoring chances.
Midway through the second period, Crosby was 1-on-1 with defenseman Brian Rafalski
coming down the left wing. Crosby crossed over on Rafalski with a spin-o-rama and whipped a backhand shot that Chris Osgood
In the third period, Crosby collected a rebound at the side of the net and banked the puck off Osgood. The puck went up in the air and landed on Osgood's back in the crease. Zetterberg covered the puck with his glove while it was still resting on his teammate, but a penalty shot was not awarded.
"I've never seen that happen before. I've never seen a puck stay on a goalie's back like that and just sit there," Crosby said. "I don't know the rule on that. I know (Zetterberg) put his hand over it. So whether that's a penalty shot or not, I don't know."
"I think it hit my arm and bounced up in the air and on top of my back. I knew it was there, but I'm not that flexible," Osgood joked. "And (Brett Lebda
) was covering my back. I was telling him to glove it off my back. I was hoping he wasn't going to get a penalty for it."
Crosby and the Penguins are in the same 0-1 hole against the Red Wings that were last year, but they played a better overall game Saturday night. Pittsburgh outshot Detroit 32-30 in the contest, no easy task against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
"Yeah, definitely," Crosby said when asked if he was more confident after this year after Game 1 as compared to last year. "We made a few mistakes tonight, and so did they. They got a few bounces. That's what it came down to. But we believe in our game. We're confident that we can get one here and go home."
Contact Dave Lozo at email@example.com.