PITTSBURGH - Sidney Crosby scored for a career-high seventh consecutive game and finished with four points to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Consol Energy Center on Monday.
With the Penguins leading 3-1 late in the second period, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf attempted a pass from the offensive blue line that hit Crosby's leg and bounced toward center ice. Crosby corralled the puck, leading to a breakaway where he slid a snap shot through goalie John Gibson's five-hole with 4:59 remaining in the second.
Crosby scored on another breakaway, while being hooked to the ice by Cam Fowler, 3:35 into the third period to make it 5-2 after Patrick Maroon trimmed Pittsburgh's lead to two goals with 1:06 left in the second.
"I just tried to fight through those hooks," Crosby said. "I felt like I was away a couple times. He kind of kept reeling me in, so I was just happy to get one in there."
Fowler exhaled while thinking of how he could've defended Crosby on that play before saying, "Honestly, I'm not sure."
Video: ANA@PIT: Crosby scores second breakaway goal of night
"At first, I think I make a good read by being able to keep the puck in, next thing you know, I'm chasing him down from the red line," Fowler said. "If it had to happen again, maybe I just back off and keep him in front of me, or I just have to recover better. ... There's, I'd say, maybe two or three guys in the League that make that play, and he's one of them."
With his 23rd and 24th goals of the season, Crosby broke his previous career-high of six straight games with a goal established from Dec. 5-Dec. 15, 2006. He has scored 18 goals in his past 19 games.
Crosby, who assisted defenseman Olli Maatta's goal to push the lead to 6-2 6:47 into the third, finished with two goals and two assists to overtake Evgeni Malkin, who missed a third game because of a lower-body injury, for the team-lead in points with 53, which is tied for fifth in the NHL. He has scored at least one goal in a career-high nine consecutive home games since being held without one against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 19.
"You never want to give him breakaways, that's for sure, and leaving your goalie out to dry," Getzlaf said. "He's the best player in the world for a reason. He scores goals almost at will if you let him. I don't want to brush it off, but we've been playing some good hockey lately and we don't want to put all our chips into one game."
Pittsburgh (27-18-7) won for the sixth time in seven games to overtake the New York Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division and prevented Anaheim (25-19-7) from a seventh consecutive win.
"I think [Crosby's] game is at another level," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "And it's consistent. It's not just sporadic. He's hard to handle. Most teams don't have an answer for him when he's playing with the passion and determination that he plays with."
Video: ANA@PIT: Hagelin scores in final minute of 1st period
Gibson was pulled following the Penguins' sixth goal after making 25 saves. Goalie Frederik Andersen made four saves in relief.
Pittsburgh scored twice early. Each goal stemmed from a Kris Letang shot being deflected past Gibson, with forward Chris Kunitz earning the first tip-in 3:38 into the game before Conor Sheary extended his stick to deflect Letang's wrist shot into the net with 9:56 remaining in the first period.
The two assists gave Letang 250 in his career.
Getzlaf cut the deficit in half after he stripped Letang in the neutral zone as the latter attempted to deke around him. Getzlaf drove towards goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and took a snap shot past his blocker with 50 seconds remaining in the first.
Pittsburgh forward Carl Hagelin, acquired from Anaheim for forward David Perron on Jan. 16, re-established the two-goal lead at 19:43 of the first when he took a pass from Phil Kessel that sent him streaking toward Gibson before he went forehand to backhand and roofed a shot for his first goal with the Penguins. Hagelin has six points in nine games with Pittsburgh.
"It was a big goal in the game," Hagelin said. "That's what I was most happy about."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau agreed and said he felt Hagelin's goal was a turning point.
"If we had gone in after the first period only down one goal, we would've thought we won the period and I think we would've rebounded," Boudreau said. "But that 3-1 goal hurt and then I thought we were doing pretty well coming on in the second period, but we gave it away and Sidney gets the breakaway. Once it was 4-1, it was done."
Video: Penguins dominate Ducks for second straight win