’s resume is pretty expansive for a player who is still a little more than five months away from his 23rd birthday. That resume needs yet another update after the Penguins captain reached another milestone in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Friday night at Mellon Arena.
With two tallies against the Rangers, Crosby reached the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career, surpassing he previous single-season high of 39 set in his rookie campaign of 2005-06. Crosby’s two goals also gave him 10 goals over his previous 11 games.
“I am obviously happy,” Crosby said. “I want to put pucks in the net. That is part of my role. I am definitely happy I have been scoring.”
Crosby began the season with a second-period tally against the Rangers on opening night back on Oct. 2, and he hasn’t stopped scoring since – on the league in general and particularly against the Rangers.
Crosby’s two goals on Friday gave him eight this season against the Rangers in five contests, including three multiple-goal efforts. He now has 41 for the season, one behind league-leader Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, as he becomes the 17th different player in franchise history to hit the 40-goal mark.
“I don’t want to stop,” Crosby said. “It’s been good. There is still some season left. It’s good to be rewarded but I have to keep going here.”
Crosby got the Penguins going and became a 40-goal scorer 6:42 into the first period.
A great forecheck in the far corner of the Rangers zone by Evgeni Malkin
and Bill Guerin created a turnover, and Guerin quickly tossed the puck to a wide-open Crosby in the high slot. Crosby brought his stick back slightly and unleashed a slap shot through the legs of New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
New York scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 advantage into the final frame, but another gorgeous goal around the cage by Crosby allowed the Penguins to send the game into overtime.
With the Penguins on the power play a little over three minutes into the third period, Sergei Gonchar kept a weak clearing attempt by the Rangers Dan Girardi in at the center point.
Gonchar walked the puck in a couple of steps and then drew his stick back as if he was going to shoot. Instead, he fired a shot-pass towards Crosby standing just outside the crease, and the Penguins center re-directed the pass behind Lundqvist for his 41st goal of the season and 11th power-play tally, which is tied for fifth-best in the league.
“That was all Gonch,” Crosby said. “He’s got the puck and he has his head up. (Lundqvist) was expecting a shot and he winds up to take a shot and puts it at the side of the net. That is not an easy one for the goalie. I just kind of put my stick on the ice. He made a great play.
“We work on that every day in practice – tips and things like that. It doesn’t happen a ton, but when it does you have to be ready for it. Luckily there it went in.”