Post-Game Observations: Crosby leads Pens to 8th straight win
Sidney Crosby scored all three Penguins goals, recording his first career natural hat trick and leading the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night at the Consol Energy Center
With the win, the Penguins winning streak is now at 8 and are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.
The buzz after the game was clearly Sidney Crosby who extended his points streak to 14 games and reached the 20 goal plateau in 27 games, the fastest in his career.
Crosby scored goals 19, 20, and 21 on the season. He has 15 goals and 14 assists during his points streak and is on a Mario Lemieux type run.
Crosby’s longest points streak is 19 games in 2007-2008. He has quite a while to beating Lemieux’s 46 games points streak in 1989-1990 but Crosby’s continues to amaze his teammates and coaches.
Head coach Dan Bylsma was among those who appeared to be in amazement tonight. “I did shake my head a couple times after those goal, ” Bylsma said.
It’s not just Crosby’s point production that makes him such a special player as he apologized to his teammates after the game for losing a face-off in the third period while the team was holding onto a 3-2 lead.
What is clear is that the Penguins go as Crosby goes and the rest of the team is following suit.
The vibe inside the locker room from key veterans is that the team is getting….
contributions from everybody, playing a team game and everybody buying in.
Once again, Pittsburgh got significant production up and down their lineup tonight.
Max Talbot played a gritty game and led the Penguins with 7 hits and sealed the game, blocking a booming slap shot from Dustin Byfuglien with seconds left as Talbot went down to the ice face first, putting his body on the line.
The Penguins third line of Chris Conner, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy were excellent tonight. They created several scoring opportunities and the Thrashers play the type of game that plays to the strengths of quick players like Kennedy and Conner.
Conner was extremely active in the offensive zone. Tyler Kennedy had 4 shots on goal and was robbed by Ondrej Pavelec early in the first period. One thing Kennedy has to work on is shooting with his head up. On Pavelec’s highlight reel save, Kennedy had his head down the entire time and shot it right into Pavelec’s glove.
Arron Asham had just 8:28 of ice time but was effective, getting into a first period fight and made a heads up play in getting the puck up to a wide open Sidney Crosby on Crosby’s breakaway goal.
Whether players are playing 5 minutes or 20 minutes, the Penguins are getting contributions from them, which has helped fuel their winning streak.
Marc Andre Fleury made 20 saves to earn his 10th win of the season. Fleury has collected 7 of the 8 wins on the Penguins winning streak.
As expected, Evgeni Malkin’s declining production continues to be a popular topic. Malkin was pointless for the third straight game and made a bad turnover around the boards on Nik Antropov’s second period goal.
He has 22 points in 26 games this season.
Bylsma was asked about Malkin’s game. “Geno played a solid game, ” Bylsma said.
Bylsma indicated Malkin didn’t have that extra step in his game tonight or his usual energy level as he took a hit in the first period but other than the “second goal mishap”, Bylsma felt Malkin was good in taking care of the puck and his defensive responsibilities.
Pittsburgh scratched Mike Comrie, Eric Godard and Ben Lovejoy
The Penguins improved to 17-8-2 on the season with the win. They play in Columbus Saturday night.
*Pittsburgh improved to 31-9-1 all-time against the Atlanta Thrashers
*Ondrej Pavelec falls to 0-6 all-time against Pittsburgh
*Pittsburgh outshot Atlanta 28-22
*Zbynek Michalek led the Penguins with 23:15 of ice time
*Chris Kunitz assisted on Crosby’s 1st goal of the game and was a +2 in the game. The Penguins top line of Kunitz, Crosby and Pascal Dupuis are a combined +16 in their last 5 games.
*Sidney Crosby was named the games No. 1 star. Brooks Orpik was the second star and Nik Antropov earned the No. 3 star.
*Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (21-19-40) was pointless tonight. Sidney Crosby’s three point night moves him four points ahead of Stamkos in the points race. Crosby has 21 goals – 23 assists for 44 points on the season.
*The Penguins PK streak ends at 32.