Crosby producing at a record pace

Bill Guerin scored the game-winning goal in the third period of a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Thursday, driving home yet another assists from Sidney Crosby as he continues a historic stretch of hockey.

Colorado Avalanche 1 — Pittsburgh Penguins 4

Quite honestly, this could be the best span of play in Crosby’s career.

The Penguins captain has seven goals and four assists in his last three games, but it dates back further than that. Since losing 6-2 at Ottawa on Nov. 19, the Penguins have won six of their last seven games. In those seven games Crosby has had a hand in more than half of the team’s goals, registering 15 total points.

And with a 4-1 win over Colorado, the Penguins advanced to their 20th win of the season (20-9-0) while Crosby set his goal-scoring pace to well over 50 goals and 100 points.

Crosby’s pace started with a modest one assist in a 3-2 win Nov. 23 at Atlanta. Two days later, he netted an overtime winner against Florida, 3-2.

Nov. 25 against Montreal saw Crosby put up one goal and one assist. He clearly was picking up speed and began his heavy onslaught Nov. 28 against the New York Rangers, scoring three goals and adding another two assists in an 8-3 win.

Same team, different venue on Nov. 30. Crosby’s point total was nearly the same as well, as he scored two goals and assisted on another in a 5-2 win at Madison Square Garden.

And finally, Sid put home another two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over Colorado. His first goal came with just seven second left in the first period on a give-and-go pass to and from Mike Rupp. Guerin then scored at the 7:15 mark of the third period, followed by empty net goals from Jordan Staal and Crosby to close out the scoring.

“I was thinking shot,” Crosby said of his pass to Guerin for the game-winning goal. “I still had my head up, I saw Billy kind of getting himself in position there off to the side. I just kind of had my eye on him a little bit and (he) did a great job of getting open and then finishing the play.”

The Penguins scored 26 goals in those six wins — Crosby scored nine of them and assisted six others.

His commitment to shooting the puck is evident in his 19 goals this year. It’s also evident in the pace of other forwards on the team.

Pascal Dupuis and Guerin have seven goals a piece. Evgeni Malkin, who sees mixed time with Crosby on both the power play and even strength, has a team-high 20 assists. Rupp has eight goals — three of which came in New York — and Brooks Orpik has a 10 spot in the assist column.

Now sure, that’s all a credit to each one of those players and their individual approach. However, you’ve got to imagine Crosby’s approach — one that’s significantly different from years past and is drawing a lot of attention — has a little something to do with those numbers as well.

Notes:

  • Chris Kunitz is not skating, coach Dan Bylsma said during Thursday’s morning skate. “He’s continued to work out and getting treatment and rehab, as he has in the last 10 days or so. He is progressing but it’s a situation where we don’t want to digress. We want to keep going forward so we’re going to be cautious and keep in mind that we have 40-plus games to play yet this year. We’re taking it slow with him.”
  • As for Alex Goligoski, he has been skating and Bylsma said he’s “progressing. There isn’t a timetable on him yet but he is positively progressing and taking a step forward day after day, so that’s good.” Bylsma continued by saying that Goligoski has a groin injury and it is in no way related to the previous injury that kept him out of the lineup.

Chris | PPT

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