Peyton Krebs (left) grew up rooting for Sidney Crosby. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Peyton Krebs never expected to fight Sidney Crosby: ‘It was fun’

BUFFALO – When Sabres center Peyton Krebs checked his phone after fighting Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby in Friday’s preseason finale, he had a whole lot of text messages waiting for him.

Meanwhile, Krebs said his proud father, Greg, posted on Instagram “he never thought I’d be fighting Sid.”

“He’s been my favorite player growing up since I can remember, so definitely something I didn’t expect,” Krebs said following Saturday’s practice at LECOM Harborcenter. “But it was fun. Battling hard, two competitive guys who like to win.”

No one had a Krebs-Crosby scrap on their bingo cards. Krebs fought for the third time since joining the NHL in 2020-21, according to Counting the regular season, playoffs and preseason, Crosby fought for just the ninth time in his 19th season.

The fight, if you want to call it that, lasted just a few seconds. Crosby, 36, almost landed one punch. Krebs, 22, threw zero before they tumbled to the ice.

Each player received a five-minute major 3:50 into the second period, and Crosby earned an extra two for the cross-checks that led to them dropping their gloves.

“I didn’t expect him to give me that many crosses, but I loved it,” Krebs said. “He can keep doing it in the regular season.”

The genesis of the fight happened seconds earlier behind the net, when Krebs and winger Tyson Jost laid a clean hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Crosby took exception and went after Krebs.

“Crosby, obviously, feels he’s got to stand up for his teammates,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “Krebsy’s OK with that. Let’s go. I don’t think in Krebsy’s mind that means he’s not going to hit a guy again, because he will.”

After they skated to penalty box, Krebs said, “Now we got to sit in here for five minutes.”

“He said his legs were going to hurt more than mine,” he said. “He’s a little older, so it makes sense. No, I like to play hard and so does he. He wants to win, and we’re just trying to do our jobs out there.”

Crosby also recorded two assists in Pittsburgh’s 7-4 win in KeyBank Center.

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