Oceanic 4, Olympiques 1
A few folks will probably take notice Sidney Crosby had his 37-game point streak snapped last night at the Centre Robert-Guertin and think it was a quiet night for the junior superstar.
No points on the scoresheet (just the second game this year he's been held pointless), but he scored points with fans of old-time hockey in the Rimouski Oceanic's 4-1 win over the Gatineau Olympiques in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000.
So there was Crosby, just over a minute into the third period, his gloves off, wrestling in a pile with Gatineau's Martin Frechette.
Fights broke out all over the place and then Crosby had to be restrained by referee Francis Charron from being the third man in another scrap.
Crosby forcefully yanked his arm away from Charron and snarled something that sounded like "take off." On his way to the box, Crosby exchanged barbs with Olympique Ryan Graham, a Newfoundland native.
Just a couple of lads from down East enjoying a Friday night, right?
Afterwards, a composed Crosby said he was disappointed to have the streak broken, which had seen him score 41 goals and post 52 assists for 93 points in the run.
"A little bit," he said. "It's my job to produce and when you get chances, you want to put them in. They were on me the first two periods and I barely touched the puck. That's just the way it is. There were chances in the third and you don't like missing those, but hopefully it's only one game. The more important thing is we got the win."
Crosby, poised and polished, did interviews in French after the game and patiently entertained wave after wave of questioners.
"It's part of my life," he said. "That's just the way it is."
Crosby had a shot at extending his point streak in the third period when he burst in on the left wing, but Gatineau goaltender Olivier Laliberte blocked his low shot with a pad. Crosby was hauled down on another break and Laliberte stopped his low shot from the high slot on the ensuing Rimouski power play.
The win, meanwhile, was the Oceanic's 12th in a row and extended their unbeaten streak to 15 (14-0-1).
Crosby, if you include his run at the world junior championship with Team Canada, ran his personal winning streak to 22 games (he wasn't in the lineup for Rimouski's last tie).
The Oceanic didn't need their superstar last night as they roared out to a 3-0 lead before most of the kegs in Le Bob had even been tapped.
Olympiques starting goaltender David Tremblay was beaten on Rimouski's first three shots in the first 4:43 -- without Crosby being involved -- and just like that, most of the fizzle went out of the building.
The Oceanic's Danny Stewart opened the scoring just 32 seconds into the game as the Olympiques looked totally unprepared to start the game. There was confusion behind their net on a dump in and Stewart was left unchecked in front to bury a pass.
Jean-Sebastien Cote made it 2-0 at 2:07 when he walked out front from the right and put the puck between Tremblay's legs as Tremblay was looking to his left.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot chased Tremblay from the net when his wrister from the circle beat the Gatineau goaltender between his blocker and his body at 4:43.
That was a weak one and Groulx had seen enough. He replaced Tremblay with Laliberte.
"I thought those were bad goals," said Gatineau coach Benoit Groulx. "Down 3-zip, it's tough to get back in the game. We didn't get that big stop. They're the best team in the league. They're very confident and take advantage of what you give them and that's it."
The Olympiques wound up wasting a great checking effort by centre David Krejci, who didn't give Crosby much in the opening 40 minutes.
Not that Crosby didn't contribute in other areas. In the second period, the Oceanic found themselves down two men for 1:23 and the Olympiques facing a good opportunity to get back in the game.
Crosby was one of the forwards Oceanic coach Doris Labonte tapped to kill the 5-on-3 and it was done successfully. At one point, Crosby blocked a shot and fired the puck down the ice to get a line change.