The Wizard of Cros, Sid the Kid, the Next One. Call him whatever you want, but the idea remains the same: Sidney Crosby is nearly unstoppable.
That was made evident yet again Sunday, when the Pens’ captain put up a five-assist performance in Pittsburgh’s 6-1 win over the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center.
Sunday marked the second time Crosby has tallied five assists in a game and the fifth time he’s earned five points in a contest during his eight-year NHL career. Crosby’s last three five-point games have come against the Islanders.
He made another large dent in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, now enjoying an eight-point advantage over Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Crosby leads the league with 45 points and 33 assists and has racked up 20 points (5G-15A) on his current eight-game point streak, the NHL’s longest active streak.
But Crosby said he is focused on the team’s performance more than his individual accolades.
“It’s nice to get the win and obviously to get five assists, that’s not something that happens a lot,” Crosby said. “But the way Kuni’s firing the puck right now, he makes all of us look good by just putting the puck in the net like he’s doing.”
He played a pivotal role in Chris Kunitz’s second hat trick of the season, assisting each of his three goals. Crosby earned an assist on Pittsburgh’s first four goals, then capped his show with a helper on Pascal Dupuis’ tally that made it 6-1 with under 14 minutes remaining.
“Tonight, we found a way to take advantage of our chances,” Crosby said. “There wasn’t a ton of shots, but we made the most of our chances. Obviously, Kuni was great – especially around the net. That’s something we want to keep doing.”
Dupuis also benefitted from two Crosby assists for the winger’s 10th and 11th goals of the season. The line of Kunitz, Crosby and Dupuis has wreaked havoc through the club’s first 26 games, as all three players have at least 11 goals. While he had a career-game, even for his standards, Crosby said a bulk of the credit goes to his linemates.
“Those guys work really hard and every night they show up and they bring the same effort and intensity,” he said. “It’s always great to see your teammates have success when you see how hard they work.”
Dupuis returned the favor, calling Crosby “probably the best center in the league.”
“When you play with Sidney Crosby it’s a matter of giving him the puck and trying to get open after that,” Dupuis said.
Kunitz echoed the sentiment.
“I get to play with the best player in the world every night,” he said. “It makes going out and playing a lot of fun.”