Sidney Crosby scores in 7th straight as Penguins win
PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby scored on a pair of breakaways to extend his goal streak to a career-best seven games and added two assists to help the Pittsburgh Penguins continue their surge with a 6-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Crosby beat John Gibson between the legs to give the Penguins a three-goal cushion in the second period and ripped one by Gibson's glove early in the third while Pittsburgh emphatically ended Anaheim's six-game winning streak.
Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin and Olli Maatta also scored for the Penguins, who have won six of seven. Crosby, mired in a massive slump early in the year, now has 53 points in 51 games. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 shots.
Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Maroon scored for the Ducks. Gibson made 25 saves before being pulled early in the third.
Pittsburgh played its third straight game without center Evgeni Malkin, but the Penguins have survived thanks to the resurgent Crosby.
The two-time MVP picked up a goal and two assists in a stunning comeback win in Florida on Saturday night and was just as brilliant against the league's hottest team. Crosby's 15 goals since Jan. 1 are the most in the league and his nine-game goal streak at Consol Energy Center is the second-longest streak in franchise history behind a 16-game run by Hall of Famer and team owner Mario Lemieux in 1996.
The Ducks and their Western Conference leading 115 goals against figured to be a stiff test. At the start of a season-long seven-game trip, however, Anaheim looked a step slow early and never found its footing against the rapidly improving Penguins.
Crosby fed Kris Letang at the point less than four minutes in and Kunitz deflected Letang's flip by Gibson to give the Penguins the lead just 3:38 into the game. Sheary's third goal of the season 10:06 into the period was the reward for a relentless shift by the fourth line. The Penguins kept Anaheim pinned deep, and Sheary expertly redirected Letang's flip by Gibson.
Getzlaf appeared to give the Ducks a late lift when he picked up his fifth of the season 19:10 into the first, but Hagelin — acquired from Anaheim in exchange for David Perron last month — responded with a nifty backhand flip past Gibson with just 17 seconds left in the period.
The Ducks controlled play for the better part of the second, but Crosby created a turnover at the Pittsburgh blue line then raced in alone on Gibson, who barely moved as Crosby's wrist shot zipped between the goaltender's legs 15:01 into the second. Maroon's third of the season shortly before the intermission cut the deficit to two, but Crosby's highlight-reel capper ended the competitive portion of things 3:35 into the third. Crosby took a feed from Kunitz, and with Anaheim's Cam Fowler using his stick to tug at Crosby's jersey, he fooled Gibson while going to his knees for his 24th of the year.
Crosby's second assist just over three minutes later sent Gibson to the bench after a rare off night for the All-Star as Anaheim's two-week odyssey across the continent got off to a bumpy start.
NOTES: The Penguins went 0 for 1 on the power play. The Ducks were 0 for 2 with the man advantage. ... Pittsburgh hosts the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. Anaheim visits Philadelphia on Tuesday night. ... Pittsburgh's six goals were the most allowed by the Ducks this season.
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