Crosby scored twice and added an assist to give him 11 points three games, and the Penguins won for the sixth time in seven games by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Thursday night.
Crosby scored late in the first period, added an empty-net goal, and assisted on Bill Guerin's game-winner with 12:45 left in regulation. He has 6 goals and 5 assists in Pittsburgh's last three games -- all victories.
"He's going great right now," Guerin said. "And that's obviously great for our team."
The Penguins have won eight of their last 10 and remained tied with Washington atop the Eastern Conference with 40 points. They've won five in a row at home and are the first team in the League to reach the 20-win mark this season.
"I think our team is getting better as the season goes on," Guerin said, "and hopefully we're just getting going."
The Penguins just had an extra gear than the Avs, who were playing their third road game in four days. It was a 1-1 game through 40 minutes, but Pittsburgh got Guerin's go-ahead goal and two empty-netters while outshooting Pittsburgh 14-1 in the third period.
"We were right in that game," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "We played two good periods, but when you get one shot in the third, it's going to be tough to manufacture a win.
"We had some chances and we didn't capitalize on them during the first couple periods."
T.J. Galiardi scored for the second straight game for Colorado, which has only one victory in its past six games and three in 13.
Guerin broke a 1-1 tie just a second after a 5-on-3 power play expired. He was inside the left circle and one-timed a feed by Crosby between the post and goalie Peter Budaj.
"I was thinking shot and then I still had my eye up and I saw Billy kind of getting himself into a position there off to the side," Crosby said. "So I just kind of had my eye on him a little bit and he did good job of getting open and finishing the play."
After Galiardi put Colorado ahead with a power-play goal 5:02 into the game, Crosby tied it when he scored his 18th of the season with 6.1 seconds to play in the opening period. Mike Rupp, who had a hat trick Monday in New York against the Rangers, broke in on a quick-developing 2-on-1 with Crosby and gave him the puck at the last moment for a tap-in.
"Good players like that are going to make nice plays," said Budaj, who played because starter Craig Anderson injured his neck Wednesday night in a 6-5 shootout loss at Florida. "Give credit to them, they made a couple of nice plays on the goals they scored. That was the bottom line."
The two goals gave Crosby 19 for the season -- a total he didn't reach until Jan. 30 last season.
Galiardi, who had only one goal this season before Wednesday appeared to score his third in two days 8:14 into the second. But an official blew the whistle before the puck crossed the goal line, although TV replays showed Marc-Andre Fleury didn't appear to gain control of the puck underneath him.
"It looked like it, but you know, things happen quick out there, and they blew the whistle," Sacco said. "If you're asking me, sure, I thought it was a goal, for sure. But he didn't call it or see it that way."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|PPG - TJ Galiardi (3) Tip-in - ASST: Darcy Tucker (4), Wojtek Wolski (15)|
1 - 0 COL
|Sidney Crosby (18) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Rupp (3), Evgeni Malkin (18)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Bill Guerin (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (17), Evgeni Malkin (19)|
2 - 1 PIT
|EN - Jordan Staal (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Maxime Talbot (2), Brooks Orpik (10)|
3 - 1 PIT
|EN - Sidney Crosby (19) Wrist shot - ASST: Jordan Staal (10), Evgeni Malkin (20)|
4 - 1 PIT
|Eric Godard Hooking against Ryan Wilson|
|Cody McLeod Roughing against Sidney Crosby|
|Matt Hendricks Fighting (maj) against Craig Adams|
|Craig Adams Fighting (maj) against Matt Hendricks|
|Sergei Gonchar Interference against Ryan O'Reilly|
|Brooks Orpik Hooking against Paul Stastny|
|Chris Durno Holding against Mike Rupp|
|Adam Foote Hooking against Sidney Crosby|
|Brett Clark Tripping against Evgeni Malkin|