Christensen, Crosby spark Penguins' victory
By Karen Price
Saturday, March 17, 2007
There aren't too many players in the NHL who can take the puck and go up against four opposing players and have a chance to score.
But Sidney Crosby is a one-in-a-million type of player, and he proved it again with another highlight-reel goal in a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday at Mellon Arena.
The 19-year-old center got the puck in the Penguins' end with the game still scoreless, and just after he hit the offensive blue line, he faced a 1-on-4 situation. Crosby went down the middle and angled toward Sheldon Souray, who was minus-20 going into the game, and jumped to the outside of the 6-4, 227-pound defenseman.
He let the shot go just as he cleared Souray and scored his 30th goal and league-leading 105th point of the season.
Since scoring only twice in 19 games, Crosby has four goals in the last four games.
"I just tried to split the 'D' and get a shot off," Crosby said. "I was just trying to drive through the middle. That was basically it. There wasn't much else going through my mind."
Like the sellout crowd at Mellon Arena, teammate Erik Christensen was a little more impressed with Crosby's goal than Crosby seemed to be.
"He's performing miracles," Christensen said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he walked on water one of these days."
Christensen scored twice for his second two-goal game of the season. Gary Roberts and Michel Ouellet also scored, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves.
After going to overtime in five straight games, last night was the Penguins' second consecutive win in regulation.
It was the Penguins' fourth victory in a row after defeating Buffalo and New Jersey -- the two best teams in the Eastern Conference -- earlier in the week, and their seventh win in the last nine games. They traded places with the Ottawa Senators again, moving one point ahead of them for fourth place in the East.
Crosby, who added an empty net goal with a minute left, was hit in the foot in the first period by a shot from teammate Brooks Orpik and again in the same spot in the third period by Canadiens defenseman Michael Komisarek.
He missed a shift in the third period but said afterward that he was OK.
"It's a little sore, but it will be all right," Crosby said. "It's been a tough couple games, but it's that time of year. I'll be fine. It's just too bad it had to hit me twice there. Once was enough."
The game was tied after two periods on goals from Crosby and Christensen for the Penguins in the first period and Chris Higgins and Souray -- both on power plays -- in the second period.
Christensen and Roberts scored two goals within 40 seconds to reclaim the two-goal lead.
But Mark Recchi high-sticked Danny Markov on the next shift, and the Canadiens, who have the second-best power play in the league, scored their third goal on the advantage to make it 4-3.
The Penguins had only one power play, and it came 10 seconds into the first period.
The Canadiens went into the game in 11th place in the Eastern Conference but only two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
"They're desperate," Crosby said. "There's a lot of teams battling for the last few spots. Every game's going to be like that."
Ouellet made it 5-3 at 13:47 of the third after another nice pass from Malkin, who assisted on Christensen's second goal of the game.
"In the third period, they really pushed us hard," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We gave the puck away on the third goal and the fifth goal. When you have a talented team like they have, they make you pay."