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game recap

Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 5

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Sidney Crosby is disproving the theory that the NHL would never again see a time when offense ruled and top goal scorers routinely averaged a goal a game.

Crosby scored twice during his fourth multiple-goal game in his last six, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their 11th game in a row by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday night.

The Penguins, 12-0-1 since last losing in regulation on Nov. 10, are on the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Their only longer run was their NHL-record 17-game streak during a 119-point season in 1993.

That's back when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux regularly scored goals in bunches. During a much different era when goals don't come as easily and 100-point scorers are scarce, the 23-year-old Crosby leads the NHL with 26 goals and 50 points in 30 games

The former NHL MVP and scoring champion has 20 goals and 15 assists during a 17-game scoring streak that is two shy of his career best, and he has 14 goals during Pittsburgh's winning streak.

Crosby also has nine goals in the Penguins' last four home games. He also has at least one goal in 13 of 17 games, one reason some in the standing-room crowd 18,158 began chanting, "M-V-P! M-V-P!"

There's more: Crosby has figured in 22 of the Penguins' 38 goals during a winning streak that began after they lost a 2-1 lead in the final minute of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers on Nov. 15.

"It's December, though, and there's a lot of season left," said Crosby, who also received a standing ovation. "As a group, we want to keep going and individually, (I) want to keep going. Just want to keep going."

Crosby nearly got his third hat trick in four home games, using an inside-out move to fool goalie Jonas Gustavsson in the opening 30 seconds of the third period. But the puck trickled off his stick inches shy of the goal line.

Earlier, Crosby opened the scoring at 8:35 of the first, missing on his initial attempt to put Chris Kunitz's rebound past Gustavsson before going to his backhand to score a moment later.

"I wish we had more guys to cover him," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.

Kunitz had three assists for Pittsburgh, and Mark Letestu scored twice after going 22 games without a goal as Pittsburgh opened a 4-0 lead.

"We still have a long way to go to get to where we think we can be," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think with the mindset that we have, the players we have, we go over the boards every game thinking we can dictate the game and the pace."

The frustrated Maple Leafs gave up three goals in slightly more than 5 minutes of the second period, amid a series of four fights that finally provided the motivational lift Wilson probably hoped they would. Only it was too late.

Pascal Dupuis finished off an uncontested short-handed break with Kunitz at 11:38 of the second, and Letestu scored less than 2 minutes later after not scoring since Oct. 18.

Crosby also scored on a 2-on-1 break with Kunitz at 14:46. His league-leading 26th goal gave him a league-high 50 points in 30 games.

"They're a well-oiled machine right now," Toronto forward Colby Armstrong said. "They're playing good hockey, they're making simple plays. We were a step behind and they're going to burn us. It's too hard to come back against a team like that."

Asked if the short-handed goal altered the game, Wilson said, "The turning point of the game was when they dropped the opening faceoff."

Toronto got goals from Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski in just over 4 minutes of the third, during a stretch in which it outshot Pittsburgh 15-1. Grabovski's goal came with Crosby among three players off the ice serving penalties following a fight between Pittsburgh's Eric Godard and Toronto's Jay Rosehill.

"Maybe we got caught watching the clock tick down," Crosby said.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury shut down Toronto the rest of the way, making 23 saves during his 10th consecutive victory. Fleury is 12-0-1 in his last 13 games.

"Right now, we're confident no matter what the score is," Fleury said.

NOTES: Crosby has nine goals in his last six against Toronto. ... Toronto D Dion Phaneuf (left leg laceration) might return Thursday. He has been out since Nov. 2. ... Pittsburgh leads the NHL with 42 points despite starting 7-8-1. ... Penguins F Evgeni Malkin (knee) sat out a third consecutive game. ... Toronto has lost nine of its last 10 road games. ... The Penguins won their seventh consecutive home game.

scoring summary
1st Period
08:35
PIT
Sidney Crosby (25) ASST: Chris Kunitz (10), Matt Cooke (8)
1 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
11:38
PIT
SHG - Pascal Dupuis (7) ASST: Chris Kunitz (11)
2 - 0 PIT
13:13
PIT
Mark Letestu (5) ASST: Tyler Kennedy (7), Chris Conner (2)
3 - 0 PIT
14:46
PIT
Sidney Crosby (26) ASST: Chris Kunitz (12), Brooks Orpik (6)
4 - 0 PIT
3rd Period
04:36
TOR
PPG - Tyler Bozak (4) ASST: Phil Kessel (6), Kris Versteeg (8)
4 - 1 PIT
08:38
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski (7) ASST: Tomas Kaberle (15), Nikolay Kulemin (9)
4 - 2 PIT
17:06
PIT
Mark Letestu (6) ASST: Tyler Kennedy (8), Alex Goligoski (10)
5 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
05:26
TOR
Phil Kessel  Too many men/ice - bench
06:13
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Colby Armstrong
12:49
PIT
Arron Asham  Roughing against  Colby Armstrong
15:47
TOR
Colton Orr  Fighting (maj) against  Deryk Engelland
15:47
PIT
Deryk Engelland  Fighting (maj) against  Colton Orr
2nd Period
05:11
TOR
Colton Orr  Too many men/ice - bench
10:25
PIT
Craig Adams  Boarding against  Fredrik Sjostrom
16:03
PIT
Arron Asham  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Komisarek
16:03
TOR
Mike Komisarek  Fighting (maj) against  Arron Asham
16:47
TOR
Phil Kessel  Slashing against  Matt Cooke
19:44
TOR
Kris Versteeg  Slashing against  Marc-Andre Fleury
19:44
PIT
Marc-Andre Fleury  Slashing against  Kris Versteeg
3rd Period
03:03
TOR
Mike Komisarek  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Rupp
03:03
TOR
Mike Komisarek  Roughing against  Mike Rupp
03:03
PIT
Mike Rupp  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Komisarek
03:03
PIT
Mike Rupp  Boarding against  Phil Kessel
03:43
PIT
Eric Godard  Fighting (maj) against  Jay Rosehill
03:43
PIT
Eric Godard  Misconduct (10 min) against  Jay Rosehill
03:43
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Jay Rosehill
03:43
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Cross checking against  Jay Rosehill
03:43
TOR
Jay Rosehill  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Godard
03:43
TOR
Jay Rosehill  Charging against  Mike Rupp
03:43
PIT
Eric Godard  Instigator against  Jay Rosehill
09:42
PIT
Matt Cooke  Tripping against  Keith Aulie
goalie stats
Jonas Gustavsson
Jonas Gustavsson
4-8-2
SA: 26TOI: 59:32
Saves: 21EV: 19 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .808SH: 1 - 2
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 25TOI: 59:54
Saves: 23EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 2PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .920SH: 0 - 0