After a year and a half in the NHL, young phenom Sidney Crosby has seen every team in the league but one. Crosby will get the chance to face that team on Saturday when his Pittsburgh Penguins meet the Phoenix Coyotes for the first time in nearly three years.
After finishing with 39 goals and 102 points last season as a rookie, the 19-year-old Crosby is having a sensational second year in the league. He leads the NHL with 50 assists and 74 points, and was the leading vote-getter for Wednesday's All-Star game in Dallas.
Although he was scoreless in the All-Star game, Crosby had two assists in Pittsburgh's 4-3 shootout win over the Stars at American Airlines Arena on Friday.
"I've been here the last five days and the everything has been great," Crosby said. "It was exciting, a fun game, an intense game. We're happy to win it."
After playing his first regular-season game at Dallas on Friday, Crosby will visit Phoenix (23-24-2) for the first time.
The Penguins (22-17-8) and Coyotes haven't played since Pittsburgh won 4-3 on Feb. 25, 2004, its first-ever win in Phoenix.
Since that game, the NHL endured a lockout canceling the 2004-05 season, the Coyotes hired Wayne Gretzky as their new coach and Crosby - the heir apparent to the Great One - played his first NHL game.
Crosby has three goals and six assists during his current five-game points streak, and has seven goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games.
Crosby assisted on both of Mark Recchi's goals Friday, including the 500th of his career that tied the score at 3 with 8:01 left.
"I was never really supposed to play in this league," said Recchi, who became the 38th player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal plateau. "To get that number I'm obviously very proud."
Erik Christensen scored the only goal in the shootout against the Stars, as Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all three shootout attempts after making 32 saves in regulation and overtime.
Pittsburgh won for just the second time in seven shootouts this season.
"We haven't had many wins in it, so this is good for us," said Fleury, who is 7-1-2 with a 2.15 goals-against average and one shutout since Dec. 29.
The Coyotes are also coming off a shootout victory, but unlike the Penguins they have been outstanding in shootouts, going 5-1.
They defeated Colorado 5-4 on Friday, recording their first win in Denver since Oct. 30, 2000. Phoenix trailed by two in the third period before Yanic Perreault scored two goals 1:17 apart to tie the score.
"We fell behind and didn't give up," Gretzky said. "I liked the way we competed until the end."
Ladislav Nagy, who has three goals and 14 assists in his last 12 home games, scored the only goal in the shootout. He has one goal and four assists in his last three games against the Penguins.
Curtis Joseph finished with 23 saves, and turned away all three shootout attempts. He is 5-2-0 with a 2.53 GAA and two shutouts since Dec. 28.