The Atlanta Thrashers came into the Consol Energy Center as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins proved that they are even hotter.
It doesn’t really get much better for Pittsburgh. They have the team achievement of a rip roaring eight game winning streak, but Crosby is also achieving individual objectives that must surprise even some of his most passionate fans. With the natural hat trick he scored tonight, Crosby tied Steve Stamkos (who went without a goal against Boston) for the league lead in goals scored with 21.
He moved his points total to 44 in 27 games.
The Penguins were able to beat Ondrej Pavlec without putting up a ton of shots (he stopped 25 out of 28) and also kept beefy forward-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfuglien off the scoreboard (he earned a -1 rating and took three shots in almost 27 minutes of ice time).
Marc-Andre Fleury has earned a win or at least a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2) and won seven games in a row on his own.
It was pretty much the Crosby show for Pittsburgh, as he scored all three of their goals while no one else earned more than one assist. Bryan Little began the night’s scoring, Crosby earned a natural hat trick and then Nik Antropov brought the Thrashers within one goal.
Pittsburgh’s Atlantic Division lead is now solidified (two points, two more wins with one more game played than Philadelphia) while Atlanta finds themselves locked behind Washington and Tampa Bay in the surprisingly stout Southeast.