Sidney Crosby was sensational in his return to game action, scoring two goals and adding two assists for a four point night. Crosby was the best player on the ice from the drop of the puck, leading the Penguins to a 5-0 shutout win over the Islanders.
The win snapped a two game losing streak for the Penguins, who improved to 12-6-3, 27pts on the season.
Steve Sullivan (2), Brooks Orpik (2), Evgeni Malkin (6) also scored for Pittsburgh, and Marc Andre Fleury (11-3-1) made 29 saves, earning his 21st career shutout.
In what was a magical night, Crosby proved that special players do special things. All it took for Crosby was three shifts to bring down the house, scoring his first goal of the season with a great individual play, fending off defenseman Andrew MacDonald with a power move and burying a backhand goal past goaltender Anders Nilsson for a sensational moment.
On the goal, Pascal Dupuis did a great job of getting the puck to Crosby in space in the neutral zone and Crosby took it from there.
Crosby wasn’t done after that and contributed on both Penguin goals in the first period. He drew a Milan Jurcina cross-checking penalty and later assisted on Brooks Orpik’s (2) goal at 16:29 of the first period, giving him a goal and an assist in the period.
In the first twenty minutes, Crosby took some hits including a hard hit behind the net from Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic but nothing phased Crosby. Overall, Crosby took 4 hits in the first period in what was a good test for him.
Most impressive about Crosby’s game from the start was how strong he was on the puck. He was unstoppable down low and in the corners, and got stronger as the game progressed.
Crosby had 7:10 of ice time (7 shifts) in the first period with a stat line of 1 goal – 1 assist – 2 Pts, +2 – 4 shots on goal
Crosby in the second period received a secondary assist on Evgeni Malkin’s (6) power play goal at 3:17 of the period, giving him 3 points in less than 25 minutes into the game. He saw his ice time decrease as the game progressed, seeing 4:31 of ice time in the second period and 15:54 overall in the game.
Crosby with three points through two periods, put the finishing touches on the Islanders, beating Nilsson with a backhand goal from the right corner, 2:06 into the third period for his 2nd goal of the game and 4th point of the night.
Crosby torched Nilsson with his backhand all night, but on the shift of his thrid period goal, Crosby dazzled in the offensive zone, winning two battles in the corners as the Islanders just bounced off him, like it was for most of the night.
Crosby playing for the first time in 10 months, could do what he wanted all night. Overall he finished with 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 8 shots on goal in 15:54 of ice time. Crosby was not only dominant in the offensive zone, he was excellent in the faceoff circle, winning 14 of 21 draws (66.7%).
Crosby’s linemates Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz also had strong games. Dupuis had a three point night with 3 assists, giving him 17 points in 21 games. Kunitz was pointless but opened a lot of space for Crosby and was effective on the forecheck.
Crosby in his career vs the Islanders now has 66 points in 34 games, including 31 points in his last 14 games vs New York. Tonight was Crosby’s first four point game since December 28, 2010, a span of just four regular season games.
12-6-3: Pittsburgh improved to 12-6-3, 27 pts on the season, snapping a two game losing streak.
7-1-1: Penguins continued their dominance at home, improving to 7-1-1 on the season at Consol.
13: The Penguins have won 13 consecutive home games against the Islanders since Feb. 7, 2008. During that span Pittsburgh has outscored New York 53-19.
10: Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma owns a perfect 10-0 all-time record in home games against the Islanders.
18-2-2: – With tonight’s win, the Penguins are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games against the Islanders, only losing twice in regulation during that span.
4: The Penguins have shutout the Islanders in four of their last seven games
30-9-6: Since the NHL returned from the lockout in 2005-06, the Penguins are 30-9-6 against the Islanders.
16-4-4: Marc Andre Fleury improves to 16-4-4 in his career vs the Islanders.
21: Marc Andre Fleury has 21 career shutouts, moving him 1 away from Tom Barrasso’s team record of 22.
14: The amount of points Pascal Dupuis (4G-10A) has in the Penguins 12 wins this season.
110: Including playoffs, tonight marked just the third time in the Penguins last 110 games, that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal were in the same lineup.
66: Crosby’s career points (34 games) vs the New York Islanders.
1.94: Crosby’s points per game average in his career vs the Islanders.
43: Evgeni Malkin’s career points vs the New York Islanders after a goal and an assist in tonight’s 5-0 win.