Thanks to a 2-1 win over their former divisional tormentors from New Jersey, the Pittsburgh Penguins are now on a 10 game winning streak for the first time since a stretch between January 28 and February 15 of 1999. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the team’s stretch is Sidney Crosby’s personal scoring streak; he now has at least a point in 16 consecutive games (18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points).
His career high is a 19 game streak, which happened during the 2007-08 season.
Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 1
Brian Rolston began the scoring in the game for the hard-luck Devils, who are now on a three game skid. Crosby assisted on a Chris Kunitz goal in the second period to tie the game up before earning the game winner just under 13 minutes into the third. (Kunitz was the other star in this one for the Pens, as he earned a helper on Crosby’s game winner.)
It was a great night of goaltending from both sides, as Marc-Andre Fleury reached a new career high with his ninth win in a row by making 27 out of 28 saves while former Penguins goalie Johan Hedberg was strong in his own right, stopping 32 out of 34 shots. The Devils have plenty of issues right now, but Hedberg is doing his best to help New Jersey at least be competitive.
Since losing two games in a row to begin the month of November, the Penguins are now on an astonishing 13-1-1 run in their last 15 games. Pittsburgh now stands atop both the Eastern Conference and the NHL standings with 40 points because the Washington Capitals coughed up a lead and lost in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. Washington is close behind with 39 points while the Detroit Red Wings sit at 37 points with four games in hand, so the Penguins still have a long way to go before they should start thinking about the Presidents Trophy.
Meanwhile, the Devils and Islanders trade self-inflicted blows to see which team will be crowned the worst team in the league.
Tonight, there’s a big Metropolitan Division showdown at Consol as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:
Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’
‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds
Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week
Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley seems pretty chill about healthy-scratching Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma. That goes for Monahan and Gaudreau in particular, noting that they’re “great kids.”
Besides … it’s not like they robbed a bank. (NHL.com)
Uh oh, did Nazem Kadri make the throat-slashing gesture to Mark Giordano? See for yourself in the video above. (Puck Daddy)
What should the New York Islanders do with unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo, who’s enjoying a productive contract year? (The Hockey News)
What a playoff berth would mean to the Florida Panthers. (Sportsnet)
Checking in with various teams as the trade deadline looms. (NHL Numbers)
On the Canucks using those Pavel Bure-era jerseys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.
Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.
(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)
Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.
Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.
As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.
The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.
You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.
Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.
Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.