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Crosby Nets Milestone Hat Trick

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby registered the NHL’s first ever milestone hat trick. The Penguins captain recorded his 100th goal, 200th assist and 300th point on three successive goals in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

“It’s not what you play for but they’re a great accomplishment,” Crosby said. “That’s basically it. I’m proud of that but at the same time I’m still looking at getting better. I don’t want to stop there.”

Crosby, who finished the game with one goal and three assists, entered the season needing one goal to reach 100. That milestone hung over him for five games, so hitting three marks in one game was a welcomed relief.

“It’s probably good to get it all over with,” Crosby said. “Geno (Evgeni Malkin) got his 200th tonight; sharing with someone feels good.”

That would be the 200th point of Malkin’s career. He notched four assists against Toronto and has recorded seven points (1G-6A) in the past two games.

“(Saturday night was a) good game,” Malkin said. “It’s hard work; it’s PK (penalty killing); it’s power play; everybody played (well) tonight.”

It is no surprise that Crosby and Malkin had instant success after being reunited on a line. With arguably the two best players in the world on the same line, they’re bound to get some goals.

“It’s definitely fun to play with him,” Crosby said. “It’s a great opportunity. He’s a great hockey player. Every game we’re not going to have huge nights but at least we can create opportunities. When we’re together we know that we have to produce.”

Therrien reunited the duo – along with winger Pascal Dupuis – to send a message to the team. Pittsburgh scored only one five-on-five goal in the four previous games – and that goal came from the fourth line. In an attempt to generate more offensive production, Therrien put Crosby and Malkin together.

So, what did Therrien tell the two players before the game?

“Mike said, ‘Score, I need (a) win, score,’” Malkin said. 

“They certainly had a great game, not a good game; I thought they had a great game,” Therrien said about the first line. “They responded exactly the way I was expecting. They were excited to play together. They responded on the ice the right way.”

Crosby welcomed the offensive outburst. He entered the game with four points in five games, unusual for a player who averages 1.38 career points per game coming into the season. All four points of the 2008-09 campaign were assists, giving Crosby the longest goal-scoring drought to start a season of his career.

That drought ended when Crosby bounced the puck into the goal off of a Toronto player. Malkin sent the puck towards the net and Crosby got around his defenseman. Curtis Joseph ventured out to poke check the puck away. Crosby beat him to the puck and and redirected it behind the net. With Joseph caught wandering, Crosby threw the puck towards the slot and it caromed off of Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski and into the net.

“Just throwing it out front,” Crosby said of the play. “You throw it to the net and good things happen. I got a great bounce.”

Crosby hit a milestone on each of the Penguins first three goals. Crosby set up the first goal – a backhander by Dupuis – with a nice cross-crease pass for his 200th career assist. Then he threw a bullet pass through the legs of Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn to Miroslav Satan, who redirected it into the net for a power play goal. That assist gave Crosby 300-career points. Crosby followed that with his 100th goal, which also marked Malkin's 200th point. For an encore, he hit Petr Sykora on a backdoor pass that gave him his fourth point of the night.

“I don’t expect four-point nights but I definitely wanted to score,” Crosby said. “I thought I was doing some good things and the puck just wasn’t going in. Sometimes you need a lucky one like that. It was definitely welcomed.”

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