The Penguins executed their system well against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the result was a dominating 5-2 victory to extend their winning streak (11 games) and unbeaten stretch (14; 13-0-1).
Thanks to some outstanding work by all four lines, the Penguins’ depth overwhelmed the Leafs. Even Pittsburgh’s third and fourth lines were controlling the puck and attacking the net.
Head coach Dan Bylsma wants to play 70 percent of every game in the offensive zone. But the Penguins were possibly closer to 80 percent in the contest, particularly in the first two periods where Pittsburgh built a 4-0 lead. The unbalanced attack time forced the Maple Leafs to exert much of their energy playing defense.
Toronto made things interesting in the third period, outshooting the Penguins 15-2, and scoring a couple of goals. The Leafs overcame a 4-1 third-period deficit to record a 5-4 shootout win in Washington Monday night. But the Penguins squashed the comeback with some strong defense and a fifth goal to hold on for the ‘W.’
The Penguins have the best record in the National Hockey League (20-8-2) and became the first team in the league to reach 20 wins.
Chris Kunitz has quietly put together a great string of games for Pittsburgh. Thanks to his three-assist effort against Toronto, Kunitz has seven points (1G-6A) in his last four games.
Kunitz got some rare penalty killing time, and helped spark a little offense. He made a smart play to get the puck ahead to Pascal Dupuis on a two-on-none. Dupuis tallied a shorthanded goal with a wrist shot.
Kunitz also led a two-on-one rush and made a beautiful saucer pass to Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain one-timed a shot between the legs of goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
The Penguins held a 1-0 lead halfway through the second period, but found themselves killing a penalty. The Maple Leafs could have evened the score with a man-advantage tally, but it was the Penguins that would strike.
There was a fight for the puck near the Pittsburgh blue line. The Penguins chipped the puck through Tomas Kaberle’s legs and Chris Kunitz retrieved it with a hustling Pascal Dupuis for a two-on-none chance. That’s right, two-on-none. Kunitz gave the puck to Dupuis, who waited for goalie Jonas Gustavsson to cheat. As soon as Gustavsson leaned, Dupuis lifted a shot over his shoulder.
The shorthanded tally gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead, and all but sealed the win.
(AP) - Sidney Crosby scored twice during his fourth multiple-goal game in his last six, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their 11th game in a row by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday night.
The Penguins, 12-0-1 since last losing in regulation on Nov. 10, are on the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Their only longer run was their NHL-record 17-game streak during a 119-point season in 1993.
That's back when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux regularly scored goals in bunches but, during a much different era when goals don't come as easily and 100-point scorers are scarce, the 23-year-old Crosby is on a remarkable scoring pace.
The former NHL MVP and scoring champion has 20 goals and 15 assists during a 17-game scoring streak that is two shy of his career best, and he has 14 goals during Pittsburgh's winning streak.
• The Penguins have won 11 straight games, the second-longest run in franchise history. The longest winning streak in team history was the NHL-record 17 straight victories that Pittsburgh won from March 9 to April 10, 1993. That was the only season the Penguins won the Presidents’ Trophy.
• During their current 11-game winning streak the Penguins have held the lead for 434:57 minutes, while trailing for just 28:53.
• Pittsburgh’s 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1) is the fourth best in franchise history.
• The Penguins extended their home winning streak to seven games. Pittsburgh is 8-0-1 in its past nine contests at CONSOL Energy Center.
• During Pittsburgh’s 14-game unbeaten streak, the Penguins have surrendered just 23 goals for a goals-against average of 1.62. They’ve allowed two or fewer goals in 12 of the 14 games.
• With his first-period goal, Sidney Crosby extended his season-long scoring streak to 17 games. Crosby has 35 points over that stretch (20G-15A), and has multi-point games in 13 of his past 19 contests. The 17-game scoring streak is the second longest in Crosby’s career, and two shy of his career best (19). The crowd responded after his second goal of the game with a standing ovation and chant of "MVP! MVP!"
• Chris Conner really used his head in the second period. The 5-foot-8 forward dove in front of a shot from Mike Komisarek. The puck went off the top of his helmet. Crosby also dropped to his knees to block a shot in the final seconds of the second period with Pittsburgh leading 4-0. You have to love Sid’s heart and competitiveness.
• The game got pretty chippy in the third period. Both teams combined for 80 penalty minutes and four fighting majors. Deryk Engelland went toe-to-toe with tough guy Colton Orr for Round 2 in the second period. Engelland once again recorded the win, landing several punches and taking down the big guy.