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Rangers give Crosby rude welcome at Garden

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- Let's dive right into this one.
During a four-goal first period between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers on Wednesday, the signature play wasn't a goal or a big save -- it involved Penguins star Sidney Crosby crumpling to the ice after a hit by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.
Depending on who you ask, it was either a bone-jarring hit or an obvious dive that drew a penalty.
While attempting to circle behind the Rangers net without the puck, Crosby was cross-checked to the ice by Staal, who was headed to the penalty box for the infraction. After the whistle blew and before Crosby could get up, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist skated over and said something to the Penguins captain, who cross-checked Lundqvist -- and that set off the fireworks.
Brandon Dubinsky jumped into the mix and nailed Crosby, and everyone on the ice piled into the scrum near the glass.
Staal received two minutes for the original cross-check, Dubinsky got two minutes for roughing, and Crosby picked up two minutes for cross-checking Lundqvist.
Lundqvist believed Crosby was embellishing the hit and milking it by staying down too long. Crosby said it was anything but a dive, and he was upset that Lundqvist left his crease to confront him about it.
"When guys talk on the ice, I'd like to leave it there," Crosby said after the Penguins earned a 5-4 victory. "I didn't like the fact that he came over. I thought that it wasn't right. I got a good cross-check in the ribs that didn't feel too good and the last thing I expected was him standing over me. I let him know how I feel. And I'm sure if he wants to tell you that's up to him, but I'd rather keep that to myself. I don't think there's any point in really starting that.
"But I was surprised and I didn't like it."
Lundqvist didn't hold back when asked if he thought Crosby took a dive.
"Yeah," said Lundqvist, who threw his arms over his head as if to give a visual example of what he was talking about. "He went up with his arms and really played it out and I told him to stand up. But he's a great player and obviously refs are going to be hard on that. And refs need to make sure star players are protected. But I don't think you should use it though."
When asked if he had seen this from Crosby in the past, Lundqvist said, "Arms up in the air? Yeah, I've seen it a bunch of times. I think I've seen it in so many games that I got a little frustrated."
It appeared on replays that the hit was plenty hard enough to knock down Crosby, who didn't seem prepared to absorb the blow. Lundqvist clearly felt otherwise.
The Penguins received a power play out of that melee, and they converted during a 5-on-3 advantage after Michal Rozsival joined Dubinsky and Staal in the penalty box.

During the third period, Lundqvist and Crosby came together after a whistle once again. Lundqvist made a catching-glove save, but Crosby took a swipe at Lundqvist as he skated past him. Lundqvist swung back, only to catch air.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL

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