Early in the season, Sidney Crosby
was asked on numerous occasions about his lack of goal-scoring production. He netted only one goal in the Penguins’ first seven games, and three in the first 14.
However, he has since silenced those questions with 10 goals in his past nine games, including his second career hat trick on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils at Mellon Arena.
“I haven’t changed that much,” Crosby said. “I think I’m playing well and getting some breaks as well. I don’t think I’ve changed much.”
It was his first hat trick in over two years (Oct. 28, 2006, at Philadelphia) and first in Pittsburgh. He also had an assist for his second four-point game of the season.
“It feels good,” Crosby said of netting the hat trick. “I’ve had a lot of two-goal games since then. It’s always in the back of your mind. It’s nice to do at home. It’s something that you don’t know when it’s going to happen again.”
Crosby’s 13 goals this season lead the Penguins and are tied for third most in the league. Crosby is on pace for 43 goals, which would set a new career high.
He has quietly climbed the scoring ladder and is currently second in the NHL with 34 points (13G-21A), behind only teammate Evgeni Malkin
(39). In three games this week, Crosby has six goals and three assists for nine points.
Sid really picked up his game. You could see the fire in his eyes. - Michel Therrien
“The last week, Sid really picked up his game,” head coach Michel Therrien said. “You could see the fire in his eyes. He’s having fun.”
Crosby scored his first goal of the night with a great individual effort. He raced past Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador. Paul Martin
forced him wide, however the Penguins captain used his body to shield the puck and swung around Martin. New Jersey goaltender Scott Clemmensen poked the puck off of Crosby’s stick. But Crosby didn’t give up on the play. He re-collected the puck and sent a backhander into the net.
“I lost it and tried to stay with it,” Crosby said. “I tried to throw it back into the area of the net. I think his pads were lying in one corner and luckily it went under his arm. Sometimes that’s the way things go for you.”
Crosby scored his second goal playing with Malkin in a four-on-four situation. Malkin darted for a loose puck in the New Jersey slot. Clemmensen tried to poke the puck away but Malkin got off a diving shot that went to the side of the net. Crosby picked up the puck and went backhand-forehand for the score.
“Anytime you play with (Malkin), you’re going to get chances,” Crosby said. “There’s a little bit more room out there. It’s always fun to play with him.”
Crosby recorded his first hat trick at Mellon Arena with 2:01 left in the game. He stole the puck in the neutral zone and raced towards the Devils empty goal. Defenseman Anssi Salmela hooked Crosby and he fell to the ice. While sliding facedown on the ice, Crosby batted the puck into the empty net.
“You always want to make sure that when you get opportunities, you bury them,” Crosby said. “When three (goals are) on the line, I guess there’s extra pressure. It’s something that if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t then you move on. It was nice to get it.”