It's official: Sidney Crosby is on a roll. The Penguins captain netted his second career hat trick on Saturday night, helping lead Pittsburgh to a 4-1 win over New Jersey. Crosby now has 13 goals on the season, and six in his past three games.
Crosby opened the scoring just over a minute into the game, when he spun around and slipped a blind backhander behind New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen. He also added goals in the second and third periods, and picked up an assist on Petr Sykora's power play goal.
Crosby is now second in the NHL's scoring race with 34 points, just five behind teammate Evgeni Malkin, who picked up two assists in the win. The duo has been white-hot the past three games, combining for 17 points and dominating just about every time they've been on the ice. Right now, these two guys are from another planet.
Mike Rupp scored New Jersey's only goal of the game early in the third period, and nearly found himself in a fight with Crosby. Instead of actually dropping the gloves and taking a few swings on one another, the two just sort of wrestled along the boards and picked up coincidental minors for roughing.
Had they fought, it would have been the second Brendan Shanahan hat trick (I refuse to refer to it as a Gordie Howe hat trick since he only ever had two in his career) of Crosby's career. If you'll recall, he picked one up last December in a game against Boston when he foughtAndrew Ference. But that's neither here nor there.
Anyway, Dany Sabourin picked up the win for Pittsburgh, stopping 29 shots. It was a solid game for Sabourin after being pulled in his last start against the Islanders.
Keep in mind, I asked this exact same question last year as well, but, will the Red Wings goaltending situation be their ultimate downfall? Obviously, last year it wasn't, and I looked like an idiot for even suggesting it, but I'm going to go ahead and throw it out there again.
As I pointed out yesterday, Chris Osgood is in Marty Turco territory in terms of his current standing among the league's goaltending leaders, and he started tonight's game on the bench in favor of Ty Conklin. He ended up getting into the game anyway, as Conklin surrendered three goals on just nine shots, as the Boston Bruins defeated Detroit, 4-1.
The Bruins picked up goals from Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Chuck Kobasew and David Krejci, while Jiri Hudler tallied the lone goal for Detroit. With the win, Boston is now tied with the Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and the No. 2 spot in the NHL behind only the machine that is the San Jose Sharks.
It's hard to imagine that, with 34 points already, and a roster loaded with world-class talent, that there would be any questions about the reigning Stanley Cup champs, but here we are. I'm sure will discuss this again at some point.San Jose Wins Again
Okay, at some point the Sharks will lose a game (maybe even two!), but man, right now it's hard to imagine how. With their 3-2 win in Phoenix on Saturday, San Jose improved to a league-best 20-3-1, while winning its seventh consecutive game.
San Jose had to overcome an early 2-0 deficit, as the Coyotes picked up early goals from Derek Morris and Kyle Turris just three minutes into the game. It didn't take the Sharks long to recover, however, as they tied the game just two minutes later. The Sharks scored on their first two shots of the game, leading to a quick exit for Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves, picking up his third straight win since returning to the lineup.Odds and Ends
... While the Sharks look like they may never lose again, Tampa Bay looks like it may never win again. The Lightning fell, 4-3, in Colorado on Saturday.
... In a strange twist, the New York Islanders were able to hold onto a third period lead, defeating Ottawa, 4-2, on the Island.
Yesterday's Newsmakers in the NHL: Hats Off to Sidney Crosby originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Sun, 30 Nov 2008 00:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.