After a slight two-game hiccup that interrupted their 12-game losing streak, it looks like the Pittsburgh Penguins are right back to business. The team pulled within one point of the Philadelphia Flyers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference/NHL standings with a nice win over the Florida Panthers tonight.
Sidney Crosby scored a goal to bring his career-best points scoring streak to 22 games (tying Dany Heatley for the best span of the post-lockout era), which is also the second best run of consecutive points in 18 years. He now has 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points in 35 games played this season.
The Pens have out-scored their last two opponents (the Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes) by a score of 11-3. The red-hot team is taking care of business going into a Winter Classic preview against the Washington Capitals tomorrow night (a game that’s being carried by the U.S. version of the NHL Network, by the way).
It wasn’t all great news for the Penguins, though. The worst is that their steady backup Brent Johnson only played two periods, as it sounds like he got banged up when Evgeny Dadonov crashed into him late in the second. Another (far less relevant) bummer is that Evgeni Malkin went without a goal or an assist after earning eight points in his previous three games.
This game managed the rare feat of a one-sided match that still required all four goalies to play because of Johnson’s injury. Tomas Vokoun was pulled early in the game after allowing three goals to make way for backup Scott Clemmensen, who allowed two.