Sidney Crosby collected a first period assist and added his 24th goal of the season in the second period, extending his points streak to 16 games, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have matched their 2nd longest winning streak in team history, defeating the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Monday night at the Consol Energy Center for their 10th straight win.
Pittsburgh last won 10 straight in 1999 (January 28 – February 15) and are 7 wins away from tying their NHL record 17 straight wins in 1993.
With the win Pittsburgh, catapulted to the top spot in the NHL with 40 points as the Washington Capitals lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout.
The Devils fall to 8-17-2 on the season as rumors continue to swirl that the Devils will make a head coach change this week. After going 0-6 against New Jersey last season, Pittsburgh is now 2-0 against their division rivals.
New Jersey did not play a bad game by any means but in judging their demeanor, they clearly lack an indenity.
It was a slow paced game at times and there wasn’t a lot of prime scoring chances but as Sidney Crosby said in his post-game comments, we “made the ones we got count.”
New Jersey scored first on a Brian Rolston power play goal at the 14:20 mark to take a 1-0 lead.
Pittsburgh quickly responded as Crosby made a dazzling play, catching a pass in his feet and setting up Chris Kunitz with a blistering one timer at the 15:41 mark for his 8th goal of the season.
In the second period, the Devils had a defensive zone breakdown and Colin White lost Sidney Crosby in front and Crosby notched his 24th goal of the season at the 12:49 mark in the second.
It was a tight game and sometimes frustrating game for the Penguins offensively as the Devils had 18 blocked shot.
Improved to 2-0 against New Jersey, head coach Dan Bylsma felt the Penguins did a very good job of keeping their composure and not getting frustrated.
“Clearly having not won a game against them last year was something we looked into and tried to come up with reasons why, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “The games I dont think have changed this year. They’re still tight, there’s still not a lot of room in the middle of the ice. But one thing I think were doing a good job of is keeping our focus and mentality of that’s the way the games going to be.”
“Tonight we get down and last year getting down against the Devils wasn’t something we dealt with very well. We kept our focus and kept going.”
Marc-Andre Fleury, 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts, made 27 saves to record his 12th win of the season. He has won 9 straight games which is a career high.
Sidney Crosby who appeared in his 400th game, leads the NHL with 24 goals and 24 assists for 48 points. Crosby has 18 goals and 15 assists during his 16 game points streak. He is three games away from tying his career high points streak of 19 in 2007.
In 400 career games, Crosby has 207 goals – 347 assists for 554 points. Mario Lemieux at 400 games was 220 points better, collecting 320 goals – 454 assists for 774 points.
Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey 34-28 in the game. Pittsburgh was 0-for-6 on the power play.
Kris Letang led the Penguins with 7 shots on goal.
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz each collected a goal and assist, posting multi-point games. Crosby has 11 multi-point games during his points streak.
Pittsburgh played without Evgeni Malkin for the second straight game. Also scratched for Pittsburgh was Mike Comrie and Ben Lovejoy.
Guerin retires a Penguin
Billy Guerin today announced his retirement as an NHL player – and, symbolically, retired as a Pittsburgh Penguin.
Guerin, 40, played 18 NHL seasons for eight teams, recording 429 goals and 427 assists for 856 points and winning two Stanley Cups.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound right winger played 95 games with the Penguins over the final two seasons of his career and was an essential part of the team’s 2009 Stanley Cup championship after being acquired at the March trading deadline.
Guerin had an emotional press conference at the Consol Energy Center this morning. He’s a guy who truly loves his family and got very emotional when talking about the sacrifice they have made over the years and starting a second life with the,.
Guerin is expected to join the Penguins hockey operations staff at somepoint in the future and said he wants to stay involved in the game of hockey.
During his press conference, Guerin said despite attending the Flyers training camp, his heart was always in Pittsburgh.
He called his most memorable overtime goal against the Flyers in game 2 of the 2009 playoffs. Guerin also talked about what a special moment it was for him being a player at the tail end of his career to play with Sidney Crosby.
Guerin called Crosby the most driven athlete he has ever seen. Guerin was honored by the team during a pre-game ceremony.
Crosby named first star of the week
Sidney Crosby was named the first star of the week, for the period ending on December 5th, the league announced this afternoon.
Crosby led all players in goals and points last week with five goals and one assist in three games, extending his point streak to 15 games and helping the Penguins (18-8-2) push their winning streak to a League-high nine contests.
The NHL’s First Star for November tallied one assist in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers Nov. 29, tallied his second hat trick in the past four games in a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers Dec. 2 and notched a pair of goals in a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Dec. 4. Crosby’s scoring binge, highlighted by 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) over the course of his current 15-game point streak, has lifted him to first place in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as NHL points leader (23-23–46) and to top spot for the Maurice Richard Trophy as the League’s leading goal scorer (23).