Penguins top Blues as Sidney Crosby scores 400th goal
ST. LOUIS — It's been 57 years since a player hit .400 in Major League Baseball.
It only felt like it took Sidney Crosby that long.
Crosby broke a 10-game drought with the 400th goal of his career Sunday afternoon, leading the Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
It was his first goal since Jan. 14, though he recorded 13 assists while stuck on 399. Crosby is the 95th player in league history to reach the milestone. He's the third to score 400 for the Penguins, joining Mario Lemieux (690) and Jaromir Jagr (439).
He added his 401st career goal into an empty net with 2 minutes, 48 seconds to play.
“It's a nice number,” Crosby said. “You're happy when you get it. You want to get more and continue to go.”
Crosby was starting to get a little antsy as his goalless streak wore on, but he immediately recognized the upside of hitting the mark when he did. Sunday's game was part of the team's annual fathers' trip. His dad, Troy, was in attendance. The Penguins presented the elder Crosby with the Steelers helmet they give to the team MVP after each win.
“It's definitely worth the wait to have my dad here,” Crosby said. “So many early mornings and sacrifice a lot so I could play hockey. It's special to have him here and all the dads. It's been a fun weekend.”
On one hand, the goal wasn't one for the highlight reels.
Crosby and Conor Sheary were digging in the left-wing corner on the forecheck. Crosby got off a shot from the goal line that trickled behind goalie Jake Allen, even though he was hugging the post.
On the other hand, it was a perfect representation of what makes Crosby so great.
“It's a typical Crosby goal,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He scores more goals from below the goal line than anyone I've ever seen.
“Some people might think it's a fluke. It's not a fluke because I've seen it happen so many times. It's someone that thinks the game on a different level.”
It also came at an important juncture in the game.
The Penguins had lost three in a row on the road. The Blues had won six of their last eight overall. When they took a 1-0 lead on a Kyle Brodziak goal on a sloppy two-on-one three minutes into the second period, it looked like things were about to go sideways for the Penguins.
It took Crosby 21 seconds to tie the score.
“It was good to get that momentum back,” Crosby said.
While Crosby's goal was historic, the biggest swing of momentum came in the first 65 seconds of the third period.
At the 31-second mark, after an errant Penguins pass in the defensive zone, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo appeared to score on a shot from the point. Video review showed Paul Stastny tipped it in with a high stick.
Thirty-four seconds later, Bryan Rust knocked down and stole an airborne pass from Vince Dunn at the offensive blue line, moved in alone on net and scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
The Penguins added some insurance with about nine minutes left. Dominik Simon forced Pietrangelo into a turnover behind the net, feeding Riley Sheahan for a handsy goal in front.
With that, the Penguins were more or less assured their sixth win in their past eight games.
“I think this is a big win for us,” Rust said. “They're a really good, tight-checking defensive team, and we haven't been that great against teams like that this year, especially out of the West, and especially teams on the road. To grind this one out and be as patient as we were was good.”