Puck Daddy - NHL

On Wednesday morning, the NHL sent out a "By The Numbers" press release hyping the 2011 Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Among the entries:

"25 - Game scoring streak by Sidney Crosby(notes). This is longest streak in the NHL since Quebec's Mats Sundin(notes) had a point in 30 straight games during the 1992-93 season."

It didn't mention that Crosby still had another game before the Classic against the New York Islanders tonight. This omission apparently angered the Hockey Gods.

Sidney Crosby's 25-game point streak came to an end when the Islanders took the Penguins into a shootout, where they defeated visiting Pittsburgh, 2-1. Crosby's streak tied him with Wayne Gretzky (1990-91), Bryan Trottier (1981-82), Brett Hull (1991-92) and Bernie Nicholls (1984-85) for the 11th-longest run in NHL history.

Crosby played 26:16 with 2 shots on goal and a minus-1. One shot arrived about 10 minutes into the game, a 39-foot snap shot DiPietro saved and covered; his second shot came with 2:39 remaining, a 37-foot snapper that DiPietro covered again. 

There was some drama with 7:01 left in regulation when the Penguins were awarded a penalty shot after an Islanders defender covered the puck in the crease with his glove. Crosby appeared ready to take the shot; but NHL rules, which differ from international rules, dictate that the shot must be taken by a player on the ice at the time of the infraction. Crosby wasn't, Kris Letang(notes) was and his shot missed.

Crosby had a chance to extend the streak with 1:14 left in overtime as the Islanders took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, but the Penguins couldn't convert on the 4-on-3 power play.

Sid's stat line for the game:

Rick DiPietro(notes) made 37 saves for the Isles, playing aggressively as the Pens crashed his crease. Forwards Frans Nielsen(notes) and Josh Bailey(notes) were matched against Crosby's line for most of the night, as were defensemen Andrew MacDonald(notes) and Travis Hamonic(notes). It was the Islanders' first game since trading leading defenseman James Wisniewski(notes) to Montreal.

So Crosby's streak ends (and god willing, so does his facial hair until the playoffs). But tonight was a reminder why Sid the Kid is the biggest story in the NHL this season: What would have otherwise been a inconsequential tune-up with a conference also-ran before the Classic became an epic battle that had fans buzzing around the League.

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