NHL Roundup: Penguins, Crosby rolling

NHL Roundup: Penguins, Crosby rolling
March 11, 2013, 1:30 pm
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On the same weekend that Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin was held pointless and had a minus-5 rating in back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Rangers, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby continued his league-wide dominance as the Penguins extended their winning streak to five games.

Saturday in Toronto, Crosby had a goal in regulation and the eventual shootout winner as the Penguins beat the Maple Leafs 5-4. The NHL’s scoring leader then had a season-high five assists Sunday in a 6-1 win over the Islanders in Pittsburgh. 

Crosby now has an eight-game scoring streak with five goals and 20 points over that stretch (matching Ovechkin’s point total from this season’s first 24 games combined). 

Crosby also leads the NHL with 33 assists and 45 points in 26 games, and the Penguins are seven points clear of the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Making Crosby’s recent run even more impressive- the Penguins have been without Evgeni Malkin for five of the last eight games due to a concussion and an upper-body injury. 

BLUE JACKETS’ BOBROSVKY NHL NO. 1 STAR: The NHL announced Monday its Three Stars of the Week with Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky taking top honors.

Bobrovsky went 4-0-0 last with a 0.77 goals-against-average and .972 save percentage to help the Blue Jackets escape the Western Conference basement. 

Bobrovsky and the Jackets have won five straight overall highlighted by a home-and-home series sweep of the Detroit Red Wings this past weekend. 

In what is expected to be their final year as divisional opponents, the Blue Jackets finally beat the Red Wings in a season series, going 4-0-1 against Detroit this season. 

While Bobrovsky was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week, Crosby was named the Second Star after recording 11 points and a plus-7 rating in four games and Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter was named Third Star after scoring six goals, including two game-winners, in four games. 

WILD WILD WEST: The Minnesota Wild earned their biggest win of the season Sunday as they beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 and moved into a first place tie with Vancouver atop the Northwest Division.

The Wild (13-9-2) have won two straight and 7-of-10 overall while the four-time defending Northwest Division champion Canucks (11-7-6) have lost four straight and 9-of-12 overall. 

The Wild made headlines last summer when they signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13-year $98 million deals. In the 4-2 win Sunday against Vancouver, Parise had two goals and an assist while Suter had two assists and skated a game-high 26:33. 

MILESTONES IN SAN JOSE: After beginning the season with a 7-0-0 record, the San Jose Sharks have since lost 13-of-17 overall and are now just one point clear of the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference standings. 

The Sharks suffered back-to-back overtime losses over the weekend to the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche but it was a milestone weekend for Joe Thornton who played in his 1100th career game and for linemate Patrick Marleau who scored his 400th career goal. 

Marleau is the first player in Sharks history to record 400 career goals with the franchise and he is the second player from the 1997 NHL Draft class to reach the mark (Marian Hossa). 

BIG WEEK IN ANAHEIM: Now that the Chicago Blackhawks record breaking point streak to begin the season has finally been snapped, it might be worth noting that the Blackhawks aren’t necessarily a lock to finish atop the Western Conference.

While the Blackhawks fell twice in regulation over the weekend, the Anaheim Ducks went 2-0-0 over that span with wins against the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.

The Pacific Division leading Ducks improved to 18-3-3 on the year and pulled within six points of Chicago (21-2-3), with two games in-hand, for top spot in the conference. 

Anaheim also took care of some off-ice business last week with the signing of captain Ryan Getzlaf to an eight-year $66 million contract extension. Getzlaf would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.