Sidney Crosby notched his first hat trick since 2006, and the first hat trick of his career on home ice, and added an assist to power the Pens past the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at Mellon Arena.
Sevens were wild in Pittsburgh as Crosby (87) recorded four points, Evgeni Malkin (71) registered two assists, and Petr Sykora (17) added a power play goal for the Pens.
Crosby came out of the gates flying in front of another sellout crowd at Mellon Arena.
Just 1:21 into the opening frame, Sid took an outlet pass from Miro Satan and took off into the Devils' zone. He split two defenders, but his momentum prevented him from getting a solid shot on goal.
On an incredible second effort play, Sid scooped up the loose puck, spun to his backhand to the left of the crease, and fired the puck under the sprawling Scott Clemmensen to give the Pens' an early 1-0 lead.
The Pens had back-to-back power plays in the first period, but continued to struggle on the man advantage.
If Alex Goligoski held the blue line as well as Alex Ovechkin holds his job on the GEICO cavemen commercials, the Pens might have converted on one of their chances.
The Pens gave the Devils two chances on the power play, but New Jersey doesn't score goals.
Malkin was all over the ice in the first period, keeping the second line on pace with Sid's top unit. He set up Ruslan Fedotenko twice but Fedo couldn't capitalize.
Mark Eaton looked lost in the first period, and it culminated with him taking a blatant holding call behind the Pens' net near the end of the first. 2007-'08 Mark Eaton doesn't take that penalty. Then again, 2007-'08 Mark Eaton would probably be hurt right now.
The Eaton-Goligoski pairing probably just bumped Ryan Whitney's return date ahead by about a week.
In the second period, things started to get chippy. Both teams were taking whacks to the skates on every shift, and the Devils were crashing the net every chance they got.
Zach Parise went to the box at 7:14 for interference and the Pens power play hit the ice for the third time. This time, however, the Devils would be TKO'd.
Tyler Kennedy made an unreal play in the offensive zone as he came high in the slot to receive a pass from Malkin at the point. T.K. put the puck between his legs, behind his back, to Crosby who was sneaking down the right boards.
Sid took the puck from the top of the right circle with the patience of your middle school janitor during Thanksgiving Feast Day.
Crosby hesitated long enough to open up a passing lane. Sid elevated the pass over a Devils' defenseman's stick, and found Sykora all alone in front of the net.
Sykie coralled the sailing puck and tapped it into a gaping cage for a 2-0 Penguins' lead.
Just when you thought tonight was going to be Sidney Crosby Appreciation Night, Malkin made sure he wasn't forgotten.
Gino got finished off by Parise in front of the Devils' bench. Instead of staying on the ice, Malkin popped up and got back into the play.
In the Devils' zone, some guy named Barry something had no idea how to carry a puck out of his own zone. Barry coughs it up in the slot, and Malkin came out of nowhere, got horizontal, and chipped the puck toward the net.
The puck found its' way through some joke in front of the net, right to Crosby, who was waiting on the doorstep. Sid buried it with authority for his second goal of the night and made it 3-0 Pens.
On the next shift, Malkin batted a puck out of mid-air on a Crosby-esque rush. Bob Errey had multiple heart attacks.
Crosby got a two-on-one with Talbot late in the period, put his head down and fired the puck, attempting to beat Clemmenjoke through the five hole. 2007-'08 Sidney Crosby would have passed that puck. Then again, 2007-'08 Sidney Crosby didn't have 13 goals in 23 games.
This is the definition of "Experiencing the Evolution."
The third period was relatively boring for casual hockey fans. The Devils got a quick goal from Mike Rupp to pull the score to 3-1, then it was dump-and-chase time. Although this time, it was the Penguins who were doing the dumping.
The Pens forced the Devils to play their style of up tempo hockey in the second period. The Pens chose to play the Devils style of dump-and-chase to hold a two goal lead hockey in the third period.
Crosby completed the hat trick when he added an empty net goal at 17:59 of the third.
Patrik Elias hooked Crosby more times than the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals on the breakaway, but Sid was determined to score, as he fell to the ice and chipped the puck in with one hand on his stick.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, New Jersey 1
- Surprisingly, tonight marked the first time in Crosby's career that he has registered multiple goals in back-to-back games.
- Crosby and Malkin are insane right now. They have combined for 17 points in the last three games.
- Gino and Sid are now No. 1 and 2 in the NHL scoring race. Get used to that.
- Eric Godard blew a tire and went hard into the boards in the second period. He only saw 3:47 of ice time in the game.
- Janne Pesonen's ice time was limited once again. Pesi saw just 7:16 on the ice, about a minute more than he played in Buffalo.
- Dany Sabourin was stellar once again. If the Pens let him go this off-season, he is definitely making a bid to become a starting goaltender somewhere next season.
- The Pens posted a 9-2-1 record in November, a nice turn around from a 5-4-2 start in October.
- Pack your bags next week, as the Pens hit the road for games against the Rangers, Hurricanes, and Senators on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, respectively.
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