For the first time in a season in which rookie Sidney Crosby has exceeded all expectations and his Pittsburgh Penguins have met none of theirs, Crosby is questioning his teammates' lack of effort.
Marian Gaborik stole the puck from forward Shane Endicott and scored barely a minute into the game, setting the tone for the Minnesota Wild's 5-0 rout last night that ran the host Penguins' losing streak to six games.
Alexandre Daigle ended a 14-game stretch without a goal by scoring twice, and Wes Walz and Brian Rolston also scored for the Wild, which had lost four in a row and five of six.
After such a poor effort against a slumping opponent, longtime scoring star Mark Recchi said it might have been ''the low point of my career." Crosby, whose career is nearly 20 years shorter than Recchi's, obviously agreed.
''I don't know if the effort was there," Crosby said, speaking in a normal voice without anger or disgust. ''NHL teams, they've got to find a way to be prepared for an opponent. They've got a good team and a good system over there, but that doesn't make it any better."
Crosby was the only Penguins player who showed much jump in the first two periods, but went scoreless for the fourth time in five games.
''There's no excuse at all," Crosby said. ''It's effort. It's moving your feet, it's making hits. You keep it simple, but when you do, you create bounces -- you make your own bounces."
Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk was booed loudly at home for the first time this season.
Sharks 6, Panthers 2 -- Patrick Marleau had his fourth straight three-point game, Mark Smith scored two goals, and San Jose remained unbeaten with Joe Thornton in the lineup, trouncing road-weary Florida. Thornton had two assists, giving him eight points in four games since arriving in a trade with the Bruins last week.
His effect on his new club has been nothing short of stunning: San Jose, which lost 10 straight before Thornton's arrival, has scored at least five goals in four consecutive victories for the first time in franchise history.
Lightning 5, Blues 4 -- John Grahame tied a Lightning record with his eighth consecutive win, and Martin St. Louis scored a tiebreaking goal with 6:30 left in host Tampa Bay's victory.
Grahame, a former member of the Bruins, made 18 saves in equaling the top Tampa Bay winning streak set by Nikolai Khabibulin in 2004. Ruslan Fedotenko had two goals, including an empty-netter with 33.5 seconds left.
Mike Sillinger and Keith Tkachuk each had two goals and an assist for the Blues, who have lost five of six and have the NHL's worst record (5-17-3).
Rangers 5, Predators 1-- Petr Prucha and Steve Rucchin each scored two goals, and the visiting Rangers snapped Nashville's four-game winning streak.
Jaromir Jagr moved ahead of Jason Spezza of Ottawa for the NHL points lead when he scored his 22d goal at 12:31 of the first period.
New York, which hasn't made the playoffs since 1997, is on top of the NHL standings with 44 points.
Oilers 3, Flyers 2 -- Ethan Moreau scored two shorthanded goals, leading visiting Edmonton over undermanned Philadelphia. The Flyers were without leading scorer Peter Forsberg (groin), captain Keith Primeau (concussion), starting goaltender Robert Esche (groin), and top defensemen Eric Desjardins (shoulder) and Joni Pitkanen (hernia).
Sabres 3, Mighty Ducks 2 -- Maxim Afinogenov scored 2:11 into overtime, and Thomas Vanek scored on a penalty shot to rally host Buffalo. Ales Kotalik also scored for the Sabres, who won for the 10th time in 12 games.
Blue Jackets 4, Islanders 3 -- David Vyborny scored on a wrist shot for the only goal in the shootout and lifted Columbus over the visiting Islanders. The Islanders' Mark Parrish scored the tying goal with 37 seconds left in regulation.
Hurricanes 3, Kings 2 -- Erik Cole snapped a 13-game goal drought by scoring twice, Justin Williams also scored, and Martin Gerber made 35 saves to lead visiting Carolina.