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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-0 rout of the Nashville Predators was as ugly on the ice as it was the scoreboard, with 100 penalty minutes shared between the two teams.
Four of them came in an incident near the end of the first period, as Predators defenseman P.K. Subban was tangled on the ice with Penguins star Sidney Crosby. As Subban appeared to prevent Crosby from getting back on his skates, Crosby responded by slamming Subban’s head on the ice a few times with his gloves.
Subban was given a minor for holding.
Crosby was given a minor for … holding?
“I don’t understand it. I really don’t understand the call. I saw my guy get his head cross-checked into the ice 10 times,” said Predators coach Peter Laviolette after the game on Thursday night. “I don’t even know what he did, P.K. I’m not sure. I disagree with the call.”
The matching minors ended up biting Nashville, as Evgeni Malkin took advantage of the 4-on-4 open ice – and the absence of Subban, who had played well against him this series – to score at 19:49, giving the Penguins a 3-0 and ending goalie Pekka Rinne’s night.
How did Subban see the play?
“I’m not an official, so I’m not going to judge what’s over the line and what’s not. I mean … at the end of the day, I just gotta play the game and play the game hard,” he said. “If those opportunities come when someone does something that warrants a penalty, then it’s up to the officials to call it. If they don’t, then we gotta just move forward.”
Crosby, meanwhile, said that Subban had his ankle wrapped up in some kind of Ultimate Fighting move that, in his mind, necessitated the head-meets-ice response.
“He lost his stick. I don’t know what he was doing … he was doing some kind of UFC move on my foot. I don’t know what he was trying to do. I was trying to get out of there. He had lost his stick. He’s just trying to hold me down,” said Crosby. “I don’t know what he was trying to do with my ankle. I was in some kind of lock there. I don’t know what it was.”
Crosby and Subban have battled all series, on and off the ice: Please recall the weirdness of the “Listerine Incident” back in Nashville, in which Subban said Crosby mocked his breath on the ice and Crosby said Subban invented that quote.
Has Crosby grown to hate Subban in this series? “Everyone’s out there trying to compete. He’s trying to do his job. I’m trying to do mine,” he said.
Game 6 is Sunday night back in fresh-smelling Nashville.
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