While Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is unfazed by Jacob Trouba’s hit against Sidney Crosby on Wednesday, the originator of the streaks will not be penalized by the National Hockey League (NHL).
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After missing numerous games early in his career due to concussions, the Pens captain failed to complete Game 5 of the series against the New York Rangers. He was elbowed in the face by his rival midway through the second period and retired to the dressing room after his final appearance on the ice with around seven minutes to go. On Thursday morning, Sullivan said his charge was being evaluated for an upper body injury.
Trouba is known for his hard punches. This season he rocked Jujhar Khaira (of the Chicago Blackhawks), who also attended the hospital, and Nathan MacKinnon (of the Colorado Avalanche) without getting suspended. And the scenario will be no different in this case, as the series prepares to return to Pittsburgh, the scene of the sixth Rangers-Penguins duel. In fact, website The Athletic pointed out that the NHL has no plans to discuss his gesture with the defenseman.
While comments in newspaper articles on the game in question were very rare for the Blueshirts, the Penguins’ anger was poorly concealed. “Did you see the shot? You probably have the same opinion as me,” Sullivan told the media.
“We never want a player like him to leave, but we have to find a way to win,” said forward Jake Guentzel. He’s the best hockey player in the world. There are a lot of minutes of play that the other guys have to take. It’s up to the rest of the group to take over.”
Indeed, there is cause for concern among the penguins. Struggling with severe headaches, among other things, number 87 missed the second half of the 2010/2011 season and most of the following season after two contacts had conceded in a short space of time at the beginning of the 2011 calendar year.
Still hoping for New York
In the New York camp, everyone still believes in their chance to complete the comeback after reducing the lead to 3 to 2 in the series.
“We have confidence in our group. We were 3-1 down but I don’t think we played that badly,” said Alexis Lafrenière, author of a one-goal, one-assist performance on Wednesday. We have fun but you have to work hard with every sequence on the ice. Every presence in the game counts, that’s what makes it fun.”
For Gallant, it’s all about not giving up: Rangers understood that well, scoring three goals in 2:42 in the second fight to come from behind.
“We were more competitive than ever and that’s what we wanted,” said head coach Gerard Gallant. Be in the game, win one-on-one battles and play hard. We were 2-0 down but continued to play solidly and turned the tide.