But all the focus regarding the return of Crosby was overshadowed to a large extent by Kris Letang who himself had been on receiving end with concussion like symptoms. Returning to the ice after missing out 5 games, Letang ended the match with a plus 5 rating. While he was on the ice, the Penguins scored all five of their goals and conceded none. His strong defensive performance was a treat to watch. He also ended the game with an assist to his name.
This match was more of a statement of intent by the Penguins who are now the favourites for the Stanley Cup. The entire team put on a solid shift with Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis on the scoreboard along with the leading goal scorer, Evgeni Malkin. To top it all off, Marc-Andre Fleury had an amazing game with 29 saves in the match including an incredible, almost impossible save on John Mitchell. And now with Crosby and Letang fit again, the Penguins line-up is looking like a team full of perfectionists with the most amazing team chemistry there is to see.
Crosby was extremely conscious at his return and did not want to disturb the team chemistry that was built while he was on the sidelines recovering.
"I didn't want to be that guy. I obviously knew we were playing really well. There was a little bit of adjustment, playing wing, things like that. I thought everyone played great, and I'm happy we got the win."
The coach however laughed it off when asked if restoring Crosby into the line-up would cause any problems saying that he hoped Crosby’s performance on the ice today was enough to put any doubts and potential problems to rest.
Matt Cooke, who scored a brace in the match also praised Crosby specially pointing out how good the number 87 was. “I think he played a great game. He draws so much attention when he is one the ice. People are worried about how good he is. That makes the players on the ice with him that much better.”
Andre Fleury who was tremendous throughout the game was of the view that they can catch the Rangers and the best way to do it is by beating them. The Penguins will play the Rangers again in April and that game may go a long way into deciding the playoff scenario. Reflecting on the game, Fleury said, “This is the only way we could catch them, by beating them because they were winning a lot. They are tough to reach. Tonight was a big game for us.”
I hope that the Penguins catch the Rangers and overtake them. It would make me a whole lot happier if they would just go on to lift the Stanley Cup this time around. Would be a fairytale comeback for Crosby.