With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup for at least Game 4, who needs to step up in his absence? How about…no one.
No one needs to do anything differently. The Pens have players in and out of the lineup all the time. They play four lines and everyone is expected to contribute.
Not even Evgeni Malkin needs to adjust. He’s already a leader. He’s already a big moment guy. He already leads the NHL in playoff scoring. How can we expect him to do any more?
No. What everyone has to do is just play the way they always have. Look at the group on defense.
Kris Letang has been out for the entire playoffs and the back line is doing just fine. Have you noticed a single guy trying to outdo anyone and be the hero? No. They want to be known as the Pittsburgh Penguins defense group. Not player X and player Y.
The forwards will be wise to do the same. They all play for the crest on the front, not the name on the back. That’s a cliche for a reason. Now, everyone is going to be playing for the “C” in the press box.
But they’ll do so as a team like they always have, because that’s what winners do.