Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby parlayed his best back-to-back performance of the season this weekend into being named the NHL's Second Star of the Week.
Crosby inched the Penguins to the cusp of a franchise-record-tying 11th-straight playoff berth by scoring three of Pittsburgh's four goals in Sunday's 4-0 blanking of the Florida Panthers.
Those tallies not only allowed Crosby to hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career (51 goals in 2009-10), but they moved Crosby back into sole possession of first place in the NHL goal-scoring race, three ahead of second place Brad Marchand of Boston.
Crosby also tied Edmonton's Connor McDavid atop the NHL points list with 80, which put the two of them one point in front of Marchand and Chicago's Patrick Kane (79 points each).
Crosby, who has played the fewest amount of games of the four, and leads the NHL with a 1.23 points per game average, has 11 games remaining, the same number as McDavid and Marchand, who are both in action Monday night. Kane has 10 games left.
Last Friday against New Jersey, Crosby scored a pair of goals and added an assist in a 6-4 victory at PPG Paints Arena. His assist was the 640th of his career, which tied him with Jaromir Jagr for second place on the Pens' all-time assists list.
At the beginning of last week, Crosby secured the Penguins a huge point in the standings against the Flames when a regulation defeat loomed, scoring the tying goal in the waning moments of the third period. Earlier that night, Crosby set up Conor Sheary's opening goal in an eventual shootout loss.
Crosby led all NHL scorers with six goals last week, and his eight points ranked second only to Marchand's nine.
During the month of March, Crosby has helped the Penguins post the NHL's third-best record by recording 13 points (6G-7A) in 10 games, a total that trails only Kane (14 points) among all players.
Crosby and the Penguins begin a two-game road trip on Tuesday night in Buffalo. Pittsburgh enters that contest trailing NHL co-leaders Washington and Columbus by one point in the NHL's overall standings, and also the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference.