It wasn’t quite Babe Ruth calling his shot, but it was a pretty close hockey equivalent.
Sidney Crosby peered into his crystal ball and foresaw the ending to the Pens’ 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks at CONSOL Energy Center Wednesday night to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Before the winning goal, Crosby huddled his teammates on the ice and choreographed the following offensive zone faceoff play.
Crosby told his teammates that he would win the faceoff back to defenseman Kris Letang. He told rookie winger Conor Sheary to go to the boards. Crosby then told Letang to give the puck to Sheary and he would take the shot.
“’Sid’ came up to before the draw and told me to line up on the wall,” Sheary said. “We hadn’t really done that before. He said he would win it back and Letang would find me in the soft area. It worked out perfectly.”
Of course, that’s exactly how the sequence played out with Sheary finishing the play by scoring the game-winning goal before being mugged by his teammates.
Letang, who has been a teammates of Crosby’s for nearly a decade, wasn’t surprised by his captain’s cerebral breakdown of the play.
“Crosby is an elite player. He believes in himself and he’s confident,” Letang said. “That doesn’t surprise me.”
Although he ordered the play, he didn’t necessarily call the goal.
“That’s the only thing he left out,” said Sheary, who scored his fourth goal of the postseason. “It usually doesn’t work out like that when you draw up a play or talk about a play. They lost me when I came off of the wall and had a lot of time to shoot. It worked out.”
Crosby had noted how the Sharks were trying to pressure the Pens defensemen when they had the puck on the point. He knew it would open up some room underneath, which is why he told Sheary to sneak into that spot.
“We’d done a lot of one-timers and quick shots from the point. We knew they’d be coming hard,” Crosby said. “Sheary just tried to find that open area there where he got the puck. Letang made a great play. Obviously his shot was really good.”
The play call wasn’t too bad either.