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Sheary sizzling with red-hot play

by Nicole Jelinek / Pittsburgh Penguins

Conor Sheary has been heating up and after Sunday's 5-1 win against the Boston Bruins, it's safe to say he is on fire after he scored twice and added an assist to establish a career-high four-game point streak.

The 24-year-old winger has recorded six goals and three assists over that span, including three two-goal games to help the Pens go a perfect 4-0 - earning him 'First Star' of the week honors. Sheary is arguably the hottest player in with NHL with a league-leading eight goals during the month of January.

For the season - his first full one in the NHL - Sheary has 17 goals in 39 games, putting him on pace to surpass the 30-goal mark. However, he's trying to take things one game at a time.

"It's going better than I expected at this point," Sheary admitted. "I think it's a mixture of a lot of things; the way we are playing as a team and the way our line has been playing. I think it's just been clicking right now. These streaks usually don't last, so I'm just going to enjoy it while it is here."

His line with Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust was especially terrific in Sunday's game, as each player ended up with a three-point effort. Sheary started the night with an assist in the first period.

He was able to get the puck up to Crosby, who was quick to create a 2-on-1 situation. Crosby's speed got him down the ice and allowed him to send a pass over to Rust, who re-directed the puck into the net to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

"We bring a lot of speed to the table," Sheary said. "I think when we get pucks behind defensemen and come at them with speed it is tougher for defense, so I think it's been working for us."

Sheary's first goal of the night came in the second period after a big scramble around the net. Crosby was able to keep this play alive from his knees and get the puck to Rust, who took control and banked it off the back boards. Sheary popped up in front of the net at the perfect moment to slap the puck off Tuukka Rask and into the net to make it 2-0 Pittsburgh.

Sheary did not stop there. In the third period, he made the score 4-1 when Justin Schultz drove to the net, Rust shuffled the puck over to Sheary and he whipped it over the shoulder of Zane McIntyre to give him his second goal against his hometown Bruins.

Mike Sullivan coached Sheary down in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League before they both came to Pittsburgh, and while he didn't necessarily expect the winger to produce at this pace, he always thought he could be a solid player at the NHL level.

"He is really elusive. He has great quickness to his game and has a high hockey IQ and he is brave," Sullivan said. "I'm not going to sit here and suggest to you that he would have 17 goals halfway through the season, but I knew he could play in this league and I felt strongly that he could be a solid player at the NHL level. His game is growing by the day."

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