Captain Sidney Crosby, who notched his eighth career hat trick while leading the Penguins to a 5-4 come-from-behind win at Tampa Bay on Saturday night, was named NHL ‘Third Star’ of the week.
The 26-year-old Crosby helped the Penguins maintain their first-place standing in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division by leading all NHL players with seven points (3G-4A) in three games last week.
Crosby, who is riding a NHL-season-high five-game point streak to begin the season, opened the week by collecting a pair of assists in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 8.
Following another assist against the Florida Panthers on Friday, Crosby vaulted to the top of the NHL scoring race on Saturday night by scoring three goals and adding an assist for a season-high four points against the Lightning.
With the Penguins trailing by a 3-2 deficit entering the third period, Crosby tied the game just 25 seconds into the final frame by deflecting a Rob Scuderi shot past Tampa Bay netminder Anders Lindback. He gave Pittsburgh its first lead – and finished his hat trick – by scoring again midway through the frame.
Finally, with the Penguins on a late power play in a 4-4 tie, Crosby teamed with Evgeni Malkin to set up Matt Niskanen’s game-winning goal with just 18 seconds remaining in regulation. The Penguins improved to 4-1 with the victory, two points better than the Carolina Hurricanes in the division standings.
Crosby is the second straight Penguins player to be honored with a weekly award by the NHL. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was named ‘Third Star’ for the NHL’s opening week when he posted back-to-back wins that included his 24th career shutout against the New Jersey Devils on opening night.