Sidney Crosby scored twice during his fourth multiple-goal game in his last six, and the Penguins won their 11th game in a row by beating Toronto, 5-2, last night in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins, 12-0-1 since last losing in regulation Nov. 10, are on the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Their only longer run was an NHL-record 17-game streak during a 119-point season in 1993.
That’s back when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux regularly scored goals in bunches but, during a much different era now when goals don’t come as easily and 100-point scorers are scarce, the 23-year-old Crosby is on a remarkable scoring pace.
The former NHL MVP and scoring champion has 20 goals and 15 assists during a 17-game scoring streak that is two shy of his career best, and he has 14 goals during this winning streak.
Crosby also has nine goals in the last four home games. He also has at least one goal in 13 of 17 games.
There’s more: Crosby has figured in 22 of the Penguins’ 37 goals during a streak that began after they lost a 2-1 lead in the final minute of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers on Nov. 15.
“It’s December, though, and there’s a lot of season left,’’ said Crosby, who also received a standing ovation. “As a group, we want to keep going and individually, [I] want to keep going. Just want to keep going.’’
Chris Kunitz had three assists for Pittsburgh, and Mark Letestu scored twice after going 22 games without a goal.
Crosby opened the scoring at 8:35 of the first, missing on his initial attempt to put Kunitz’s rebound past Gustavsson before going to his backhand to score a moment later.
Blackhawks 5, Stars 3 — Rookies Bryan Bickell and Jeremy Morin scored goals and Corey Crawford made 28 saves in host Chicago’s victory over Dallas.
Playing without injured offensive stars Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks won their second straight game and fifth in the last six. They led 2-0 after the first period, and 4-1 less than three minutes into the second.
Sharks 5, Flyers 4 — Logan Couture and Ryan Clowe scored shootout goals and visiting San Jose overcame a three-goal, third-period deficit and an apparent Philadelphia goal in the final second of overtime.
The Flyers appeared to win it in overtime, but Mike Richards’s goal was waved off after a reply showed time expired an instant before the puck crossed the line. In the second period, the Sharks had a goal waved off when officials determined the puck was kicked in by John McCarthy.
Canucks 5, Ducks 4 — Ryan Kesler scored his second goal in a scramble with 21.5 seconds left to tie it, Jeff Tambellini had the only shootout goal, and host Vancouver came back twice for a wild victory over Anaheim.
Predators 3, Red Wings 2 — Colin Wilson, Martin Erat, and J.P. Dumont scored and Anders Lindback made 35 saves to help visiting Nashville beat Detroit.
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist and Johan Franzen also scored for Detroit, which lost its third straight.