Will Graves

Pittsburgh (AP) – Sidney Crosby never talks about himself. Someday.

Stanley Cups. Headline headlines. MVP Awards. Conn Smythe Trophies. The Pittsburgh Penguins star has never met a milestone that he has not tried to share with as many people as possible.

Crosby’s 500th goal was no different. The moment he became the 46th player in NHL history to reach the landmark on Tuesday night during a 5-4 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, his teammates poured him on the boards to kill him in the corner .

Familiar number 87 Crosby was temporarily lost in a sea of ​​faces. Suitable for a player who almost pathologically considers himself one of the guys, even if his significant talents mean he is not.

“All the guys who go out on the ice, that’s something I’ll always remember,” Crosby said. “Lots of joy, just happy and try to seize the moment.”

But what happened in the third period and overtime is perhaps more symbolic for Crosby’s career.

Yes, it was Crosby who rushed across the rink against the team that finished last, trying to help the Penguins trail by two goals. Yes, it was Crosby relentlessly attacked. Yes, it was Crosby who caught the attention of Philadelphia defender Kevin Connaughton during a 2-on-1 game with Chris Letang, freeing Letang for a wrist throw that brought the Penguins, who finished first, their fourth straight win.

“Of course, you want this game, this memory to be a victory,” Letang said. “You don’t want to remember the 500th goal (Crosby) in the loss, especially in front of such a rival.”

Crosby is the second active player to score 500 goals, joining Alex Ovechkin of Washington. He is the 18th player to reach the 500, playing for one team, and he made the Penguins only the sixth franchise to have multiple 500-goal scorers by joining the Mario Lemieux Hall of Fame.

Intoxicating territory for a player who has so deftly coped with being one of the league’s flag bearers since arriving with the best pick in the 2005 draft. And he has exercised extreme caution, torturing Flyers regularly for most of his 16-plus seasons.

With the Penguins’ advantage over the men at the end of the first period, he clung to the goal line, received a pass from longtime teammate Eugene Malkin and struck a wrist shot in the short direction of Carter Hart, who handcuffed the goalkeeper and hit the goal. the back of the net.

The three-time Stanley Cup winner and future Hall of Fame member – who declined to talk about reaching such sparse air before it happened – smiled broadly when his parents and the rest of the sold-out crowd erupted.

Perhaps it was appropriate that the main help went to Malkin – another pillar of the franchise for most of the last two decades – and that it happened against the Flyers. A full 10% (50) goals in Crosby’s career were scored against Philadelphia.

The crowd chanted Crosby’s name after the goal and cheered him on during a break in the second period, which included a video of a congratulatory message from Lemieux with whom Crosby was known to be in the league when he joined the league as a fresh 18-year-old. .

He now joins Lemieux in some rather exclusive campaign, a notion not lost to a player who deeply appreciates the history of the game he helped define.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Crosby said. “I think I can just be a part of great teams for years, play with great players. This is a cool number. You look at the guys scoring 500 goals, I think it’s just a privilege to be part of this campaign. “

Crosby’s campaign joined the win thanks to some late heroes from Jake Gunzel and Chad Ruvedel, who scored 18 seconds with a difference in the third period to erase the two-goal deficit. Dominic Simon also scored for Pittsburgh, and Casey Desmith stopped 23 shots as the Penguins remained at the top of the capital’s division, sending the Flyers to their third straight loss.

Scott Lawton, Nick Sealer and Justin Brown scored in the second period when the Flyers came to life after Crosby’s goal. Hart finished with 29 saves, but lost his third start in a row when he could not deal with the winner of the game Letanga.

Claude Giroud also scored for Philadelphia, which again saw itself at the wrong time at Crosby’s landmark moment, although that didn’t stop some of the Flyers from knocking on the boards out of respect for the player who dominated them for years.

“Obviously he’s a damn player,” Sealer said. “So congratulations to him, but it’s hard when it’s against you.”


Flyers: Start eight games at home on Thursday against Washington.

Penguins: Visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.


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