The Penguins winning streak has officially reached “dimepiece” status.
Pittsburgh won its 10th straight game with a 2-1 defeat of Atlantic Division rival New Jersey. The 10 consecutive victories ties for the second-best mark in franchise history (the only better run was the NHL-record 17 straight wins the Penguins rung up in 1992-93).
The Penguins disposed of the Devils in their typical workman-like fashion, a staple over their current 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1).
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz chipped in a goal and an assist each. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 of 28 shots between the pipes, and the Penguins defense played lights out in the third period to shut down New Jersey and preserve the lead.
If not for outstanding play of netminder Johan Hedberg, who made 32 saves in the contest, the Penguins would have easily walked away with a victory. The Devils fought hard and made the Penguins earn the two points in the standings, and Pittsburgh got the job done.
The unbeaten streak has raised the Penguins’ record to 19-8-2 for 40 points, the most in the National Hockey League. Pittsburgh holds a one-point edge over Washington, and has a two-point lead on Philadelphia in the division.
Kunitz got the Penguins’ on the board in the first period to even the score at 1-1. He was driving hard to the net on a rush and received a beautiful pass from Crosby in the high slot. Kunitz one-timed the puck past goalie Johan Hedberg’s sprawling glove.
Kunitz helped create the Penguins’ second goal, which proved to be the game-winner. Kunitz got the puck to Alex Goligoski at the point and then drove to the net. Kunitz’s presence in front of the crease allowed Crosby to sneak to the side of the paint undetected, where he converted a rebound for the winning tally.
Pittsburgh and New Jersey always battle in tight, closely-played affairs. The Penguins’ 2-1 victory was no different.
There was no major plate tectonic shift in the game. But the moment that stood out was the Penguins’ first goal in the opening period.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead with a power-play score with 5:40 remaining in the first period. The Penguins counter punched with their own score 1:21 minutes later to even the score, 1-1, late in the first, and Pittsburgh was off and running.
(AP) - Sidney Crosby scored a goal and set up another, and the Pittsburgh Penguins matched the second-longest winning streak in franchise history, winning their 10th in a row by beating the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Monday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury, 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts, made 27 saves as the Penguins matched a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 28-Feb. 15, 1999. Their only longer streak was an NHL-record, 17-game run from March 9-April 10, 1993, the season they failed to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup title.
Crosby leads the NHL with 24 goals and 24 assists for 48 points. He failed to get a hat trick for the third consecutive home game, but has nine goals in five games and six in three games.
• Former Penguin and Devil Bill Guerin officially retired earlier in the day. Guerin, who played with eight teams over his 18-year career, chose to retire as a Penguin. Guerin, a fan favorite in Pittsburgh, scored 856 points (429G-427A) in 1,263 career games. He won the Stanley Cup twice (New Jersey 1995; Pittsburgh 2009). Guerin was honored before the game by the Penguins with a video tribute and he was presented with a commemorative plaque.
• There was a scary moment for the Penguins in the second period. Devils forward Brian Rolston cross checked Paul Martin from behind as the two skated for a puck behind the boards. Martin slammed hard into the boards knee first. Fortunately, Martin was not hurt on the play. Following the play, Craig Adams came to his teammate’s aid and roughed it up with Rolston.
• With his first-period assist, Sidney Crosby extended his season-long scoring streak to 16 games. Crosby has 33 points over that stretch (18G-15A), and has multi-point games in 12 of his past 18 contests. The 16-game scoring streak ties for the second longest in Crosby’s career.
• Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury set a new career mark by winning his ninth straight game. Fleury is also unbeaten in his last 12 games (11-0-1). During his unbeaten stretch, Fleury has stopped 320 of 340 shots for a .941 save percentage, to go with his 1.64 goals-against average.
• The Penguins are now 5-0 this season in their alternate blue uniforms, and 17-7-3 all-time.