Sidney Crosby extended what is clearly the best scoring streak of the post-lockout era tonight with a two goal, two assist performance as the Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the Atlanta Thrashers 6-3. His 25-game streak features 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points, averaging exactly two points per game.
At this point, it might be safe to say that Crosby isn’t really competing with Alex Ovechkin and other high-scoring contemporary forwards, but rather that he’s battling some of the best players in NHL history. Keeping in mind that he’s only 23-years-old and the fact that league-wide defense has evolved profoundly since the laughable scoring days of the ’80s and other offense-minded eras, Crosby is experiencing the kind of run that might put him in line with the best of the best.
Overall, Crosby has 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 38 games played during the 2010-11 season. Before he tied Steven Stamkos for the Maurice Richard Trophy with 51 goals in 09-10, Crosby’s career high for goals scored in a season was 36. He has an outside chance of matching that total by the end of the Winter Classic on Saturday.
Box Score: Pittsburgh 6, Atlanta 3
Crosby was the star of the show, but Matt Cooke (one goal and one assist) and Marc-Andre Fleury (31 out of 34 saves) provided some good work too for the East-leading Penguins.
Philadelphia holds three games in hand over Pittsburgh, but the Penguins ensured the fact that they’ll maintain their division (and conference) lead over the Flyers for at least one more night even if they beat the Vancouver Canucks in a game that’s about to start. That’s because the Penguins hold a three point lead at this very moment.
Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and Eric Boulton scored Atlanta’s goals while Bryan Little had two assists. This marks the Thrashers’ fourth loss in a row and though they might face the threat of slipping to eighth in the conference with another defeat or two, they still have a decent hold on a playoff spot at this point.