Chris Kunitz (17) scored his second hat trick of the season, and Sidney Crosby added five assists, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-8-0, 36 pts) to a 6-1 rout over the New York Islanders (11-12-3, 25 pts) on Sunday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Pascal Dupuis (11) scored twice and James Neal (17) had a goal and two assists in the win. Defensemen Kris Letang also had two assists as five Penguins had multi-point games. Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves to record his sixth win of the season. The Penguins played very well in front of him and didn’t give the Islanders many second chances. Vokoun faced just 10 shots through the first forty minutes of the game.
The Penguins extending their winning streak to five games, got a huge game from the top line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis who combined for 5 goals and 7 assists in the win.
Kunitz with the three goal night, added two assists for a five point game, a career high, to move into third in the NHL with 36 points, while Crosby had five helpers and Dupuis had two goals.
Sidney Crosby’s five point game gives him 45 points on the season, leading Steven Stamkos by eight points in the NHL points lead. Crosby has emerged as the clear front runner to win the scoring title with 22 games left in the season.
The Penguins are the NHL best offensive team with 96 goals on the season and to know surprise have five players ranking at or near the top of several key offensive categories:
*Sidney Crosby (12G-33A-45Pts) – Ranks 1st in NHL in points (45), assists (33), even strength points (30), power play points (15, tied)
*Chris Kunitz (17G-19A-36Pts) – Ranks 3rd in NHL in points (36), tied for 2nd in goals (17), tied for 1st in power play goals (8), and 1st in plus/minus rating (+21)
*James Neal (17G-11A-28Pts) – Tied for 2nd in goals (17), tied for 1st in power play goals (8)
*Kris Letang (3G-23A-26Pts) – 1st among all defensemen in points (26), 3rd in NHL in assists (23)
*Evgeni Malkin (5G-19A-24Pts) – Tied for 2nd in NHL in power play points (14)
TIDBITS: Evgeni Malkin was scratched due to an upper body injury……Pittsburgh went 2 of 4 on the power play……Mark Eaton returned to the lineup and was a +4 in the win……Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo were healthy scratches.