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Streaking Crosby November's Star of the Month

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 12:05 PM / Player Profiles

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Wayne Gretzky set the NHL record for consecutive games with at least one point when he ripped it up for 153 points in the first 51 games of the 1983-84 season. Mario Lemieux fell five short of Gretzky's mark six seasons later when he put together a run of 46 straight games with at least one point.

Sidney Crosby's current point streak reached 13 games Monday at Madison Square Garden, and he swears he's not gunning to catch his current boss or his former hero because it seems so far-fetched right now.

"Yeah, I don't expect that," Crosby said with a smile. "That's for sure."

Would anyone really be shocked if he did top Lemieux, or possibly even Gretzky? Crosby, after all, already seems to tackle the impossible with vigor.

With 26 points on 12 goals and 14 assists over his current 13-game streak, Crosby was rewarded Wednesday by being named the NHL's First Star for the month of November.

Crosby started his streak Nov. 5 with a pair of goals in a 3-2 loss at Anaheim; the Penguins have gone 10-1-1 since. He has 6 goals and 7 assists during the team's current seven-game win streak, and 8 goals and 11 assists over their 10-game unbeaten streak.

His 41 points through 26 games leads the NHL.

"There are not many games where you can say at the end of the night, 'Gee, I wish Sid was a little better,'" Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato told NHL.com.

Crosby said he tries not to think about his streak, but it's hard because he's reminded of it after every game and every practice.

"I try to go out there with the same intentions every game and let the points take care of themselves," he said. "It's not something you want to focus on too much, but you want to produce at the end of the day."

His production over these last 13 games has many in the Penguins' locker room wondering if this is the best he's ever been in the regular season, but if you look at his career, you can see he's done this before, and for longer stretches.

Crosby still is six games off of his personal-best point-scoring streak. He had 11 goals and 19 assists during a 19-game streak at the start of the 2007-08 season. He also put together a 16-game streak in 2008-09 (9 goals, 18 assists), but it was separated by a four-game injury absence.

But speaking from a present-day point of view, players like Penguins forward Maxime Talbot can't remember if Crosby ever has been better than he is right now.

"The stretch he's on right now is pretty special," Talbot told NHL.com. "He's leading our team the way he's been used to, but maybe a little bit extra right now."

Crosby's best streak last season was nine games, but he finished the season with a career-best 51 goals.

With 18 goals in 26 games, he's on pace for 57 this season.

"It's so tough because he's great all the time, but maybe in the regular season, yes (he's never been better), because he's just been unbelievable," Penguins defenseman Kris Letang told NHL.com.

Crosby, of course, deflects praise when it comes to his scoring streak. He credits linemates Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis for gelling with him, and as most hockey players do, he said he's been lucky, too.

We all know that's just Crosby being modest.

Talbot doesn't have to be when it comes to talking about his teammate and friend.

"Right now he's definitely a complete player," Talbot said. "He's taking faceoffs on the right side, left side. He plays on the PK and when we need a big draw he's going to take the faceoff. Defensively he's solid. He's a stopper in our own zone and he wants to get the puck out to go work in the offensive zone. He's doing every detail of the game."

All that shows Penguins coach Dan Bylsma that at 23 years old and with five full seasons behind him, Crosby is a true veteran -- and he's playing like one.

"His best skill maybe is his wanting to get better in big ways and small ways, and I don't think it's going to stop throughout his career, but now there is consistency to his mentality and focus and it's really showing through," Bylsma said. "There are not a lot of highs and lows. We play different teams with different focuses on him with different room on the ice and he's continuing to make it work."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday