Plenty of players have been shuffled through the lines on this Pittsburgh team. A lot of it has to do with the never ending train of injuries suffered, but coach Mike Sullivan always likes to mix it up.
Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle right away, and no I’m not talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning. Other times you build up time before you really achieve the greatness you wanted. The HBK Line that filled our hearts with joy last year rather than break them like the acronym stands for would be the latter. Now, there is a new line out there that has come to fruition with gleaming positivity almost right away.
The new recent line I am speaking about this season of course is the “Sid and the Kids” line. This line has Sidney Crosby at center with Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel manning the wings.
Both wingmen have played along Sid at different times. Sheary started with him last year and into the 2016 playoffs. Guentzel and Crosby just got paired up in 2017 about a month ago now. Sheary and Sid found common success early moving around, Guenztel on the other hand took some time to get the correct fitting, but he has incredible vision so the points were coming right away. Once the seal was broken though it was off to the races.
Putting these three together has been dynamite so far and there was no better example of this than on Sunday afternoon in a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers capped off by a Marc-Andre Fleury shutout and a natural hat trick by Crosby.
Who did the assists come from each time? That’s right, it was Guentzel and Sheary. This isn’t just a quick fun run that lasts as short as Iceland’s Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson’s hockey career after he punched his coach. A line this potent must have sustainability.
I’m not just basing this off of Sunday’s phenomenal theatrics, but that game put the exclamation point on what this line can be. It’s creating chances almost harmoniously every second they’re out on the ice. At their worst, the line is nail biting, just missing chances that would otherwise build momentum for the Penguins. At it’s best, you have what we saw: three players with a combined nine points and a force that wears you down.
This was even before Crosby’s 3rd netted goal of that game:
Between Sheary’s stick handling talent and Guentzel’s remarkable hawking ability to find the open man or spot he needs to fill at such a young age. These two have the speed and right guys to play with an elite star like Sid. We don’t need to go on about his talent. On a team where injuries have been at the forefront, it is a MUST that this line remains a unit come playoff time in the next 2-3 months.
Of course we have seen other great players on this team line well with Crosby. Patric Hornqvist is a perfect example. Although, he has proven he can be equally effective on a 2nd line with Evgeni Malkin. Even a guy like Bryan Rust can be put on the 2nd or 3rd line when he comes back and still bring that fire to the team, a stronger group if that’s the case.
We may have HBK 2.0 here, a sequel to that phemenomal squad but a sequel that lives up to and further attains affluent success. The opposite of True Detective season 2. It’s more like every new season of your favorite tv show (I’m talking It’s Always Sunny, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones (except for season 5). Maybe I’m just a sucker for a catchy name, but something has just resounded for the “Sid and the Kids” line. When things are going that well, you don’t mess with that at all. I can’t wait to see what other exciting sparks we might see them accomplish.