Sidney Crosby is two wins away from his second Stanley Cup, but the Sharks are crying foul over his tactics in the face-off dot.
Pittsburgh downed San Jose, 2-1, in overtime on Wednesday night to take a commading 2-0 series edge as the Stanley Cup Final gets set to shift to California.
Crosby, the Penguins captain, cleanly won the face-off that eventually led to Conor Sheary’s game-winning goal at 2:35 of overtime. After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture called out “Sid the Kid” over his face-off technique.
“He times them and [the referees]don’t kick him out for some reason,” Couture said, according to ESPN. “Probably because of who he is.”
Logan Couture says Crosby wins offensive zone faceoffs so cleanly because he cheats. Says he gets away with it because of who he is.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 2, 2016
Crosby won 71 percent of his face-offs in Game 2 after winning 56 percent of his Game 1 draws. The Penguins also took Game 1 of the series, 3-2, from the Sharks on Monday.
The Penguins captain has won 52.7 percent of face-offs in the playoffs and owned a 51.7 percent success rate in the regular season. On the playoffs, he also has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points.
Each game of this series has been decided by one goal, and the Sharks had some tough puck luck, hitting the post on multiple occasions Wednesday night. Perhaps there is some truth to what Couture is saying, but it’s also possible there is some frustration brewing out of San Jose.
Pittsburgh has controlled the majority of the offensive play, as evidenced by its 71-48 shot advantage through the first two games of this series over San Jose.
Crosby hasn’t responded to Couture’s comments, but he did speak on taking face-offs after winning a draw to set up the game-winning goal.
“I call  faceoffs a game, so I got  wrong tonight,” Crosby told NHL.com after the game. “It’s one of those things; guys have to execute, you have to make the pass. That’s exactly what they did. Usually the center kind of calls the play, and I think those guys deserve a lot more credit than me.”
The Penguins look to put a stranglehold on the series with a 3-0 lead, while the Sharks hope to notch their first Stanley Cup Final win in franchise history when they face-off for Game 3 in San Jose on Saturday night.
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