ShareThis Page

Crosby's hat trick leads Penguins to sixth straight win

| Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010

Mario Lemieux used to do this kind of thing.

He would turn different kinds of goals into a hat trick and, after a Penguins victory, there would be this feeling that a performance stellar enough to be considered defining for any other player was just another day at the office.

Sidney Crosby went to work Saturday at Consol Energy Center.

His sixth NHL hat trick came on goals scored at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded into an empty net — all after he was denied a penalty-shot goal by a great glove save from Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff.

Still, neither Crosby nor his teammates seemed awe-struck after the 4-1 win, which also included winger Arron Asham's third goal and at least 40 shots for a second straight contest. Ten of those came off the stick of Crosby, who pushed his season goal total to 18 and career ledger to 201.

"Outstanding — as we've come to expect from him," winger Craig Adams said.

A year ago today, Crosby scored a hat trick against the New York Rangers. Including that one, he has 57 goals in his past 79 regular-season games — a run that, if maintained, would give him 276 goals by his 500th game after he notched 132 in his first 290.

Barring a significant injury, Crosby will play that game around New Year's Day 2012. He will be 24 — about eight months from the start of his prime. Flames defenseman Mark Giordano could not think of a way for his or any team to stop Crosby between now and then — and maybe over the next decade.

"If there is one, no one has really figured it out yet," he said. "He seems to find those spots. I thought our game plan was to play him hard, and we were playing him hard. He's one of those guys who, when he gets a chance, he'll make it count. He's the best player in the game for a reason, and he's tough to play against."

The Penguins are becoming a tough team to play against, having allowed only 15 goals during an 8-0-1 march to a record of 15-8-2. Backup goalie Brent Johnson, in his first appearance since the Penguins' last regular loss Nov. 10, stopped 30 shots to bring them within two points of Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia, which also is 25 games into the season after a shootout loss at New Jersey.

Johnson, 7-2-1 with a .931 save percentage, has teamed with resurgent No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Penguins a sixth-ranked mark in goals-against average. They also own the NHL's best penalty kill, which has not allowed a goal on 28 consecutive opportunities in nine games after denying Calgary on four chances.

"A lot of it is blocking shots, sticks in passing lanes — just good, solid defensive-zone coverage," Adams said. "And I think you could say our goaltending has been equally outstanding. I don't think there is probably a team in the league who's had better goaltending between two guys."

Only one team in this league can claim as its own Lemieux and Crosby — captains of Stanley Cup champions, winners of scoring titles and MVPs.

Lemieux finished with 690 goals in 915 games. At the rate he has scored in the past 365 days, Crosby's 690th could come in eight years.

He would be 32, with about a year remaining in his prime.

Additional Information:

Sid the shooter

Sidney Crosby had his sixth NHL hat trick Saturday in the Penguins' 4-1 win over Calgary. His regular-season goals and shots since he recorded a hat trick against the New York Rangers at home Nov. 28, 2009:

Before : 240 games, 144 goals, 1,032 shots, 14.0 shooting percentage

Since : 79, 57, 302, 18.9


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.