PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby had his
third career hat trick and the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first NHL
team to reach 10 victories this season, snapping the Montreal
Canadiens' four-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory Wednesday night.
Crosby, tied for fourth in the NHL
with nine goals, had his third multiple-goal game in 12 starts this
season for Pittsburgh (10-2-0).
Chris Kunitz also scored and assisted
on all three of Crosby's goals. Mike Rupp and Alex Goligoski added
goals, and Bill Guerin had three assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves, allowing only Tomas Plekanec's power-play goal.
With the victory, the defending
Stanley Cup champions rebounded from a loss to New Jersey on Saturday
night that snapped their seven-game winning streak.
Montreal's Jaroslav Halak stopped 19 of 23 shots before he was pulled after the second period.
Crosby extended his point streak to
five games, completing a hat trick during the first 36 minutes, giving
him nine goals in October for the first time in his career. Last
season, Crosby's ninth goal came a full month later on Nov. 28.
All three of Crosby's goals came at
even strength. He scored 8:33 into the contest when he one-timed a slap
shot off a pass from Guerin between the glove and left pad of Halak,
who was diving to his left.
Crosby made it 2-0 five minutes into the
second when he corralled the rebound of Kunitz's shot while in the slot
and, with his back to the net, flipped a backhander high into the
corner of the net.
The goal that brought the deluge of
hats onto the ice came with 4:27 left in the second when Kunitz fed him
all alone in front of Halak, who stopped his initial shot but the
rebound ricocheted off Crosby's skate.
The play was reviewed but officials
ruled he did not use a distinct kicking motion so the goal stood,
giving the Penguins a 4-0 lead.
Rupp's third goal came 12:58 into
the second, and Plekanec scored his third 5:39 into the third during a
5-on-3 situation, ruining Fleury's shot at his first shutout of the
Kunitz had a power play goal with 3:29 left — his second goal in his past 22 regular-season games.
Crosby had only three goals
all of October last season. His previous hat tricks came Oct. 28, 2006,
at Philadelphia and Nov. 29, 2008, against New Jersey. … Goligoski
has a six-game point streak. … Plekanec has at least a point in four
straight. … Penguins RW Tyler Kennedy missed the game due to an
undisclosed injury. … Including playoffs, Mellon Arena was sold out
for the 125th consecutive game, dating to late in the 2006-07 season.