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Sheary Steals the Show

by Bryanna McDermott / Pittsburgh Penguins

While the hype was built for the Penguins-Oilers matchup on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena between captain Sidney Crosby and budding Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid, it was another Conor who stole the show.

The Pens winger had his second career two-goal game, including the game-winner, to give him seven points (3G-4A) in his six games played this season.

"I don't think many people were watching that," Sheary laughed when asked if the true battle was between him and McDavid. "It was good effort from everyone tonight, a good comeback win for us and an important two points."

The victory began and ended with Sheary, who tallied his first just two minutes into the opening period.

He took a pass from linemate Bryan Rust and launched a scorching slapshot from the top of the left circle past Oilers netminder Cam Talbot to put the Pens up 1-0.

"I was exhausted so I was just trying to get a shot on net far side," Sheary said. "I put everything I had into it."

The Oilers responded with three unanswered goals to give them a 3-1 lead. The Pens were eventually able to tie it, opening the door for Sheary's game-winner with just 1:42 remaining in regulation - which he considered 'puck luck.'

His wraparound attempt was deflected by Talbot before an Oilers defender swept the goal into his team's own net.

"The guy just whacked it right off me and it was lucky enough to go in," Sheary said with a smile. "I think we definitely got a little puck luck in the third."

The Massachusetts native had points in each of Pittsburgh's first three games (1G-2A) before a high stick suffered on Oct. 18 at Montreal sidelined Sheary with an eye injury.

Since returning to action in the Pens' 5-0 win over San Jose on Saturday, Sheary seems to be picking up right where he left off as he tallied two assists in that game.

One of Sheary's biggest assets is his versatility. While he usually spends time as a right wing, Sheary often gets shuffled between lines and positions to fill whatever role the Pens need.

On Saturday, he played with Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr. On Tuesday, he was slotted with Nick Bonino and Rust. And there's always the option of putting Sheary back where he spent the majority of the 2016 postseason.

"I can bounce him around on any line," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's a great two-way player, but he has great offensive instincts. When (Carl Hagelin) is killing penalties, I can come back with Conor on (Sidney Crosby)'s line. They played together a fair amount last year, throughout the playoffs. They have a little bit of chemistry, and I think they're complimentary.

"It's nice to have that luxury where he can play the right wing or the left wing. He's a good player."   

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