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Sidney Crosby put on a show in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, but his brilliant night was overshadowed by some out-of-character behaviour.
Crosby pushed the Penguins one step closer to another Stanley Cup with three assists in the 6-0 win Thursday. The post-game questions, however, centred around a brief wrestling match with Predators defenceman P.K. Subban and his toss of a water bottle from the bench.
The 29-year-old Penguins captain got into it with Subban at the end of the first period.
Crosby said Subban lost his stick and proceeded to do “some UFC move on my foot” while holding him down on the ice.
“I don’t know what he was trying to do,” Crosby said. “I was trying to get out of there.”
In doing so though, Crosby drove Subban’s head into the ice several times with his right glove. The two eventually worked their way back up and were dealt matching minor penalties for holding.
Subban was asked after the game if Crosby deserved more for the foul.
“Well, I’m not an official,” Subban said. “I’m not going to judge what’s over the line and what’s not.”
Fans weren’t afraid to weigh in though as the Subban-Crosby scuffle was a trending topic on social media Friday morning.
On his first shift after the penalty, Crosby set up Conor Sheary for the fourth Penguins goal and his second assist of the night. He started the game by drawing a penalty and setting up Justin Schultz for the opening goal on the ensuing power play. Crosby added his third helper on Phil Kessel’s first goal of the final.
Shortly before that, Crosby tossed a water bottle on the ice. He claimed later it was an accident.
“I made a gesture and it came flying out of my hand,” Crosby explained. “I didn’t try to throw it. I know it ends up on the ice but I wouldn’t start throwing water bottles at this point. I haven’t done it yet.”
Crosby couldn’t recall specifics, but thought he was reacting in response to a penalty that went uncalled. He said he was surprised when the bottle came flying out of his hand and later apologized to linesman Brian Murphy.
“I have a better arm than that anyway,” Crosby said.
More meaningful to his night was the victory, which pushed the Penguins one step closer to becoming the first repeat Stanley Cup winner in 19 years. Crosby also passed Mario Lemieux for first in Penguins history with 20 career points in the Stanley Cup final.
Crosby managed the feat in 24 games. Lemieux had 19 points in nine career games in the final.