Sidney Crosby has been instrumental in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ longest point streak in almost 14 years. Another strong performance from the league scoring leader against a team he’s enjoyed facing could extend that run.
To do that, Crosby will try to continue his recent mastery of the New York Islanders on Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The runner-up for the Calder Trophy last season, Crosby has recorded multipoint efforts in all five games against the Islanders this season totaling three goals and 10 assists. That gives him 27 points in 13 career games against the Isles, the second-most he’s had against one opponent trailing only the 30 he’s recorded in 15 games against cross-state rival Philadelphia.
Crosby has 26 goals and a league-high 65 assists this season. He had an assist Sunday as Pittsburgh (32-17-9) defeated Washington 3-2 to pick up a point in its 16th straight game. The Penguins’ 14-0-2 run since losing to Florida on Jan. 10 is their longest since they closed out the 1992-93 season with 17 wins and a tie en route to a franchise-record 119 points.
Crosby has five goals and 21 assists during Pittsburgh’s point streak while current rookie of the year favorite Evgeni Malkin is right behind with nine goals and 16 assists. His bad-angle goal late in the second period gave the Penguins a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Mark Recchi reached the 20-goal mark for the 15th time in his career with a power-play goal in the first. Maxime Talbot also scored in the third, but Malkin’s goal—which drew comparisons to some scored by former Penguins great and owner Mario Lemieux—was much of the talk after the win.
“With his size and his hands, Geno looks like him,” Recchi said of Malkin, who has two goals and three assists in six games against the Isles this season with both tallies coming on the road. “Mario was one of those guys who can score from that angle, and only a few guys can. A lot of guys don’t even try that.”
The Penguins’ surge gives them 73 points to move five points behind Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-1-1 with a tie and a 2.91 goals-against average in his career against the Islanders, and won his only career start on the road against them. He stopped 34 shots on a 4-3 overtime victory on Oct. 19 and is expected to be in net as New York tries to rebound from a 2-0 loss to the Devils on Saturday.
The Islanders (28-23-8) were shut out for the third straight time by New Jersey and sixth overall this season.
“It’s not that complicated a game,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said after they fell to 1-1-0 on their season high-tying seven-game homestand. “You get the puck back to the point, shoot it, and go for rebounds. It’s been frustrating to watch for a long time.”
Rick DiPietro, who made 28 saves in the loss, is 6-4-1 with a 3.56 GAA in 11 career meetings against the Penguins but has won his last two home starts against them. In his last appearance against them, however, he gave up five goals during a 7-4 road loss on Dec. 15.
“This trade addresses our need for a quality offensive defenseman to improve our power play,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said.
Bergeron has eight goals and 17 assists in 55 games this season. He’s recorded six goals and 10 assists on the power play.
The Islanders have lost four of six to the the Penguins in 2006-07.