Todd Bertuzzi's fourth goal in two games gave Vancouver a two-goal lead, and Henrik Sedin sealed it with a power-play score in the third period as the Canucks beat Pittsburgh 4-2 Monday night, the Penguins' seventh consecutive loss.
Crosby, the 18-year-old Penguins rookie, scored his first goal during the losing streak and 22nd overall during another eventful night, engaging in several shoving matches and taking two more penalties.
Crosby, the Penguins' leading scorer with 51 points but also their most penalized player, is increasingly being targeted for physical play because of his willingness to retaliate and take penalties.
``He got frustrated out there,'' said the Canucks' Brendan Morrison, who scored a goal and set up Bertuzzi's goal. ``When you play against a guy like that who's a good competitor and wants to win, plays with an edge, sometimes that is to your advantage. If you're going to give a hit you have to expect to be hit.''
Morrison said the word is spreading around the NHL that the best way to get to the Penguins is to get Crosby worked up.
``It seems like he's trying to go after everybody,'' Morrison said. ``He's wasting too much energy on that instead of concentrating on playing.''
Crosby was whistled for roughing late in the second period and took a slashing penalty early in the third, when the Penguins were pushing for the tying goal after Mark Recchi scored in the final minute of the second period to cut it to 3-2.
Instead, the Crosby penalty and John LeClair's tripping penalty about a minute later gave the Canucks an extended stretch of power-play time, and Sedin took advantage to score his 11th. Marc-Andre Fleury left a rebound of Mattias Ohlund's shot in front of him, and Sedin pushed it past Fleury for his second goal in two games.
Michel Therrien, who took over as the Penguins' coach a month ago, has been trying to toughen up a relatively young team, another possible reason why Crosby is becoming so feisty.
``We were physical and the difference is they have experienced players,'' Therrien said. ``It's the little things sometimes, the rebounds around the net, sometimes the defenseman's not there to pick up the rebounds or make the little chip up the wall to make sure the puck is going out.''
Crosby's 22 goals and 29 assists put him second among rookie scorers to Alexander Ovechkin, who has 58 points for Washington. But Crosby's 79 penalty minutes rank third among rookies.
``They try to keep a close eye on me, they just wanted to play the body and get their hands up a little bit when they're hitting,'' Crosby said. ``I expect every game to be physical.''
Vancouver goalie Alexander Auld wonders if all this losing may be wearing on Crosby.
``You can see it. It has to be tough for him,'' Auld said. ``There's a lot of pressure on him. He's handled it well, and I'm sure losing is frustrating for him.''
Vancouver won its fifth in six games after dropping four of five. The Canucks had a night to rest after beating the Islanders 8-1 on Saturday behind Bertuzzi's three goals - he had been shut out in his previous 10 - while the Penguins were coming off a 5-4 loss in Nashville on Sunday night.
Crosby put Pittsburgh ahead by tipping in LeClair's rebound attempt off Sergei Gonchar's shot from the right point during a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period. Defenseman Steve McCarthy tied it later in the period with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.
Morrison put the Canucks up 2-1 early in the second by deflecting Nolan Baumgartner's shot. Bertuzzi pushed the lead to 3-1 when defenseman Josef Melichar did nothing to try to move him out from in front of the crease during a power play and Morrison set him up for Bertuzzi's 16th goal. Penguins defenseman Dick Tarnstrom was off for tripping.
Auld stopped 23 shots as Pittsburgh lost its third in a row at home.
Notes: The Canucks are 8-1 against Eastern Conference teams. ... Pittsburgh is 1-4 against the Northwest Division. ... The Canucks are 16-3-3 when a defenseman scores. .. Vancouver was 2-of-6 on the power play and is 10-of-34 in five games. ... Vancouver went 3-1 on a road trip that began with a 3-0 loss Friday to New Jersey.
|PPG - Sidney Crosby (22) Wrist shot - ASST: John Leclair (14), Sergei Gonchar (16)|
1 - 0 PIT
|Steve McCarthy (2) Slapshot - ASST: Sami Salo (21), Anson Carter (13)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brendan Morrison (10) Tip-in - ASST: Nolan Baumgartner (18), Bryan Allen (6)|
2 - 1 VAN
|PPG - Todd Bertuzzi (16) Tip-in - ASST: Brendan Morrison (25), Markus Naslund (28)|
3 - 1 VAN
|Mark Recchi (13) Wrist shot - ASST: Colby Armstrong (3), Josef Melichar (6)|
3 - 2 VAN
|PPG - Henrik Sedin (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Mattias Ohlund (12), Nolan Baumgartner (19)|
4 - 2 VAN
|Kevin Bieksa Hooking against Michel Ouellet|
|Henrik Sedin Hooking against Sidney Crosby|
|Sergei Gonchar Holding against Matt Cooke|
|Rob Scuderi Hooking against Jarkko Ruutu|
|Anson Carter Hooking against Maxime Talbot|
|Alexandre Burrows Fighting (maj) against Colby Armstrong|
|Alexandre Burrows Roughing against Colby Armstrong|
|Colby Armstrong Fighting (maj) against Alexandre Burrows|
|Steve McCarthy Hooking|
|Dick Tarnstrom Tripping against Alexandre Burrows|
|Alex Auld Goalie participat'n byd Center|
|John Leclair Hooking against Ryan Kesler|
|Sidney Crosby Roughing against Brendan Morrison|
|Todd Bertuzzi Hooking against Maxime Talbot|
|Sidney Crosby Slashing against Bryan Allen|
|Jarkko Ruutu Roughing against Sidney Crosby|
|John Leclair Tripping against Kevin Bieksa|
|Kevin Bieksa Unsportsmanlike conduct against Colby Armstrong|
|Sami Salo Hooking against Ryan Malone|
|Richard Jackman Interference against Trevor Linden|