for this game

Crosby's career night leads Penguins past Flyers again

Dec 14, 2006 - 3:29 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- In less than two seasons in the NHL, Sidney Crosby already has found a favorite opponent.

Crosby collected a career-high six points and defenseman Sergei Gonchar had two goals and three assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins remained perfect this season against the Philadelphia Flyers with an 8-4 victory.

Drafted first overall in 2005, Crosby made a huge impact last season, becoming the youngest player in NHL history (18 years, 253 days) to reach the 100-point plateau with 102 and finishing second to Washington's Alex Ovechkin in voting for the Calder Trophy.

Along the way, Crosby recorded 14 points in eight games against the Flyers, tying his highest output vs. any club. This season, the 19-year-old already has eclipsed that total, thanks to a monumental effort Wednesday.

"I think it's been a rivalry before I got here, and I think it's continued since," Crosby said. "I think you know what to prepare for, since we play against them so much."

After giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead with his 15th goal of the campaign just over five minutes into the contest, Crosby assisted on each of his team's next five tallies to surpass his previous career mark of four points in one game.

"Part of my job is to move the puck," Crosby said. "It's up to them to finish the opportunities, and those guys were on tonight. Sometimes, you make passes and it seems like everyone finishes the play and the pucks are in the net. I'll take those nights when they come."

"What a night," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Tonight, we saw a performance by a special player. It was unbelievable. He was on the puck, creating a lot of offense, and that line really clicked well. That line was focused, and Sid was phenomenal tonight."

Even Crosby's opponents were impressed with his display.

"I haven't seen that in the league in a long time," Philadelphia's Mike Knuble said. "Obviously, you thought he was good in his first year, and now in his second year, he's taken a couple of steps forward. Not even one step forward, he's taken two or three steps forward. Especially against us. He's got to be excited to see us coming on the schedule every time."

With the spectacular effort, Crosby took over the NHL scoring lead with 47 points. He also raised his season totals against Philadelphia to seven goals and eight assists in five meetings, all Pittsburgh victories.

"It's nice (to lead the league), but there's a lot of season left," Crosby said. "It's really nice when something like that comes along, and if it keeps up through the year, that's fine. But I'll take two points (in the standings) any night over leading the scoring race."

Crosby, who has at least two points in 10 of his last 12 games, fell just one assist and two points shy of matching the franchise records. Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux holds a share of both marks, having collected six assists three times and eight points on two occasions.

"He was flying out there," Gonchar said. "He was making unbelievable plays, passes and all that stuff. I'm happy for him."

"There are a lot of games where (Crosby) sets up a lot of guys, but they hit the post or the goal doesn't go in," Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone added. "But Sid's capable of turning the game around like that, and when he's on, he's on. It's definitely fun to watch."

Malone set a career high in points with a goal and three assists and rookie Jordan Staal scored a highlight-reel shorthanded tally for the Penguins, who have won three straight games following a four-game skid.

"Sid had a lot to do with that," Malone said of his personal achievement. "I don't think I did too much on too many of those, but it's definitely fun to get a couple points and help out offensively."

Rookie Ryan Potulny scored his first career goal and added an assist for Philadelphia, which has lost five in a row.

Chris Thorburn began the onslaught at 4:06 of the first period, taking a drop pass from Jarkko Ruutu and putting a wrist shot past screened goaltender Antero Niittymaki from the top of the slot. Crosby doubled the lead exactly one minute later, getting away from R.J. Umberger behind the net and skating to the left faceoff circle before letting go a backhander that caromed off the skate of defenseman Derian Hatcher and in.

"It was one of those nights when everything seemed to go in," Crosby said. "It was a good sign early on, getting that goal off the skate."

"I'm not really worried about Sidney Crosby right now," said Niittymaki, who yielded seven goals on 26 shots in his 11th consecutive start. "Some other team can worry about him now."

The tally extended Crosby's goal-scoring streak to five games.

Potulny and tough guy Todd Fedoruk answered for Philadelphia, forging a 2-2 tie, before Gonchar cashed in during a power play with 7:10 remaining in the session to put Pittsburgh ahead for good.

"After that first five minutes, it looked like we were giving it away," Gonchar said. "But we found a way to get back and score those goals."

Malone, Gonchar and former Flyer Mark Recchi scored in a 3:33 span in the middle session and Michel Ouellet netted a man-advantage tally at 3:10 of the third after Kyle Calder notched his first goal with Philadelphia while shorthanded. Knuble drew the Flyers within 7-4 at 4:41, but that was as close as injury-riddled club would get.

With teammate Dominic Moore in the penalty box for hooking, Staal capped the scoring with his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal.

After grabbing a loose puck at center ice, the 18-year-old got around fellow rookie Lars Jonsson by sliding the disk between the defenseman's skates. Staal proceeded to deke Niittymaki before slipping a backhander into the net with seven seconds remaining.

With the goal, Pittsburgh matched its best offensive performance of the season. On October 28, the Penguins posted an 8-2 victory, also over the Flyers. Philadelphia has been outscored, 28-11, in the season series.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 0 2 4
    PITTSBURGH 3 3 2 8 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - CHRIS THORBURN 3 (JARKKO RUUTU) 4:06
    PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 15 (RYAN MALONE, ROB SCUDERI) 5:06
    PHI - RYAN POTULNY 1 (STEFAN RUZICKA, ALEXANDRE PICARD) 5:33
    PHI - TODD FEDORUK 2 (R.J. UMBERGER, RANDY JONES) 9:07
    PIT

    Dec 13 10:13 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 0 2 4
    PITTSBURGH 3 3 2 8 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - CHRIS THORBURN 3 (JARKKO RUUTU) 4:06
    PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 15 (RYAN MALONE, ROB SCUDERI) 5:06
    PHI - RYAN POTULNY 1 (STEFAN RUZICKA, ALEXANDRE PICARD) 5:33
    PHI - TODD FEDORUK 2 (R.J. UMBERGER, RANDY JONES) 9:07
    PIT

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 10:13 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 4
    PITTSBURGH 7
    3RD PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 12 (RYAN POTULNY, ALEXANDRE PICARD) 4:41

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    PITTSBURGH 7
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) MICHEL OUELLET 7 (RYAN MALONE, SIDNEY CROSBY) 3:10

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    PITTSBURGH 6
    3RD PRD: PHI - (SH) KYLE CALDER 1 (R.J. UMBERGER) 2:20

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 9:38 PM


  • ------------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 0 --2
    Pittsburgh 3 3 --6
    ------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Pittsburgh, Chris Thorburn 3 (Jarkko
    Ruutu), 4:06. 2, Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby 15 (Ryan Malone, Rob
    Scuderi), 5:06. 3, Philadelphia, Ryan Potulny 1 (Stefan Ruzicka,
    Alexandre Picard), 5:33. 4, Philadelphia, Todd Fedoruk 2 (R.J.
    Umberger, Randy Jone

    Dec 13 9:18 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 6
    2ND PRD: PIT - MARK RECCHI 8 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY) 9:29

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 8:57 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 5
    2ND PRD: PIT - SERGEI GONCHAR 5 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 7:17

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 8:53 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 4
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN MALONE 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR) 5:56

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 8:47 PM


  • ------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 --2
    Pittsburgh 3 --3
    ------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Pittsburgh, Chris Thorburn 3 (Jarkko
    Ruutu), 4:06. 2, Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby 15 (Ryan Malone, Rob
    Scuderi), 5:06. 3, Philadelphia, Ryan Potulny 1 (Unassisted), 5:33. 4,
    Philadelphia, Todd Fedoruk 2 (R.J. Umberger, Randy Jones), 9:07. 5,
    Pittsburgh, Sergei Gonchar 4 (powe

    Dec 13 8:21 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 3 5:51 LEFT, 1ST PRD

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 8:09 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    PITTSBURGH 2 9:05 LEFT, 1ST PRD

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 8:01 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    PITTSBURGH 2
    1ST PRD: PHI - RYAN POTULNY 1 (UNASSISTED) 5:33

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 7:51 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 15 (RYAN MALONE, ROB SCUDERI) 5:06

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 7:51 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - CHRIS THORBURN 3 (JARKKO RUUTU) 4:06

    Flyers vs. PenguinsDec 13 7:48 PM