Just when it was starting to feel comfortable, like it was something that could last forever, the lowly New York Islanders shut down Sidney Crosby, ending his 25 game point streak.
Crosby's streak started November 5, with two goals against the Anaheim Ducks. Since then, Sid has 26 goals and 24 assists, while putting up the longest point streak in the NHL since Mats Sundin had a 30-gamer back in 1992-93.
Sid had seven games with three or more points (including two hat tricks) and had goals in 18 of the 25 games—vaulting himself to the top of the NHL scoring race with 32 goals and 65 points.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the entire streak is the way it ended—against the long-time doormats of the NHL, the Islanders, who currently sit 29th in the league. Coming into the game, Crosby had 62 points in 32 career games and was seemingly the only thing in Islanders' minds.
Jack Cappuono, the Isles interm coach, tried something that no one else had tried against Sid—he had Frans Neilsen shadow Crosby every inch of the ice, and Nielsen played a phenomenal game, effectively limiting all of Crosby's chances.
Sid's best chance came in the first period, when he busted in and beat Rick DiPietro glove-side—only to find the crossbar. Then, in the second period, Crosby went wide on Milan Jurcina, and fed a wide open Evgeni Malkin in the slot—but Malkin's shot was easily gloved by DiPietro.
Where is Crosby's streak on the list of most impressive ever?
In the third period, the Penguins were awarded a penalty shot when Bruno Gervais closed his hand on the puck in the Islanders' crease. Crosby wasn't on the ice when it happened, but that didn't stop Dan Bylsma from trying to sneak him out to take the shot. The referees denied that plan, and Kris Letang eventually missed the net.
In overtime, the Islanders took a penalty for too many men on the ice with 1:14 remaining, and it looked like Crosby would have a chance for a storybook ending with a game-winning goal. However, DiPietro seemed to be on a mission, and shut down the Pens' power play, sending the game to a shootout, and officially ending the streak.
While the streak falls well short of the NHL record (51 games, Wayne Gretzky), the decreased scoring in today's game makes Sid's streak ever the more impressive than the 28 to 30 game streaks in the 80s and 90s—when the game was totally wide open and the goaltending often poor.
Crosby has been, without a doubt, the best player in the league so far this season, and with the excitement building for the Winter Classic showdown with Alex Ovechkin, don't expect him to let up anytime soon. Let's just hope that when he steps onto that outdoor ice, he leaves the mustache behind!