Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby Leads Pens Past New Jersey

Joe HeidkampContributor IMarch 17, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates a second period powerplay goal by Evgeni Malkin #71 (not shown) against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There's no question that the biggest story in the NHL right now is the return of Sidney Crosby.  In just two games, Crosby has already racked up five assists, and his play in both the offensive and defensive zones have driven the Penguins to another level. 

The Penguins went into New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, where Crosby had been held without an assist for eight straight games. 

Just 1:59 into the first period, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin won an offensive zone faceoff back to James Neal, who ripped it behind Marty Brodeur to give the Penguins the first goal of the game.  This is a play that the Pens have perfected and have scored on against Washington and Winnipeg as well.

Andy Green scored his first goal of the season to even up the game going into the second period, but the Penguins would explode for three goals in just under three minutes to jump out to a 4-1 lead.  Pascal Dupuis would start it off by burying a slap shot behind Brodeur.  Then the Crosby show began, as Sid made a beautiful cross crease pass to Matt Cooke on the rush, and an unbelievable pass to Evgeni Malkin on the power play to give Geno 40 goals on the season.

The Devils got themselves right back into the game at the beginning of the third period, with ex-Penguin Petr Sykora going to the net and putting a rebound in behind Marc-Andre Fleury.  Just a few minutes later, though, Sidney Crosby would win a defensive zone puck battle along the boards and send an outlet pass to Tyler Kennedy, who later lost control of the puck in front of the net.  Good offensive support by Matt Cooke would allow him to bury Kennedy's miscue behind Brodeur for his second goal of the game, and Crosby's third assist of the game.  Matt Cooke now has two two-goal games in a row since playing with Sid.

Just when everybody thought the Penguins couldn't get any better, they prove the odds wrong again.  They would win the game against New Jersey in dominating fashion, allowing the Devils only 14 shots on goal.  Joining a Penguins team that was on fire before his return, Sidney Crosby now has five points in just two games and shows no signs of slowing down.