- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Though his line didn’t have much success finding open space five-on-five, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby continued to find ways to hurt the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Crosby scored three goals, all of them coming on rebounds right in front of Caps goaltender Simeon Varlamov. He punched home a rebound off a Sergei Gonchar shot at 6:38 in the first period. In the second period, he stationed himself in front of Varlamov again, and after his deflection attempt was stopped, Crosby got another rebound on his stick and put it past Varlamov low at 10:57.

His final tally, this one on a six-on-four advantage with 30.4 seconds left in the third, again came from down low. He took a pass from behind the net from Evgeni Malkin; after two whacks at the puck were stopped, he batted home a goal that got past Tom Poti and went off the back of Varlamov’s mask.

The hat trick gave Crosby four goals in the series.

Monday’s tallies were the kind of dirty goals Crosby isn’t known for, and they were about all he and linemates Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz were able to generate offensively. Crosby took just two shots other than his three goals; Guerin had four, and Kunitz had just one. Crosby’s linemates had five shots blocked.

“As a shooter, you have to make sure you bear down. We have to really correct that quickly,” Crosby said. “There’s times where [Varlamov is] kind of swimming in the crease. We got some loose pucks, and we need to put them in.”

Noncall bugs Boudreau

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t happy with the shot Kunitz landed on Varlamov in the scrum around the Washington net just before Crosby’s third goal. Boudreau said Kunitz shoved his stick under Varlamov’s mask before the puck was on its way to the net.

“It’s a direct cross-check to his throat just before Crosby scored,” said Boudreau, who said he saw a replay of the incident after the game. “There’s no puck there - nothing. We hope the league takes a long look at that.”

The one call Boudreau changed his mind on, at least partially, caused the Penguins’ first power play in the first period. Alexander Semin was given two minors - one for roughing, the other for high-sticking - after tussling with Brooks Orpik in the Caps’ defensive zone. Replays showed Boudreau yelling at the referees, and while he said the Penguins could have gotten a second minor for Orpik hitting Semin in the groin with his stick, he didn’t make as big an issue after the game about that call as the Kunitz hit.

“I didn’t see it down in the corner. I thought they were getting the initial penalty. That’s why I got upset,” Boudreau said. “When I looked at it on the replay, it could have very easily been an even-up call. Our guy started it, and they’re taking the guy that starts it. Orpik did use the stick in that area. That’s a battle, to me. That’s a hockey playoff battle, and those things go on all the time. That’s what makes hockey great.”

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