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Monday, December 6, 2010

Crosby scores; Pens win 10th straight, 2-1 over NJ

PITTSBURGH -Sidney Crosby scored a goal and set up another, and the Pittsburgh Penguins matched the second-longest winning streak in franchise history, winning their 10th in a row by beating the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Monday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury, 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts, made 27 saves as the Penguins matched a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 28-Feb. 15, 1999. Their only longer streak was an NHL-record, 17-game run from March 9-April 10, 1993, the season they failed to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup title.

Crosby leads the NHL with 24 goals and 24 assists for 48 points. He failed to get a hat trick for the third consecutive home game, but has nine goals in five games and six in three games.

Crosby's 16-game scoring streak (18 goals, 15 assists) is the league's longest this season and ties for the second longest of his career. He had a 19-game streak from Oct. 6-Nov. 17, 2007, but he already has three more points during this run.

The Penguins won their sixth in a row at home despite going 0 for 6 on the power play, including a two-man advantage that lasted 34 seconds early in the third period.

New Jersey (8-17-2) lost its fourth in five games despite Johan Hedberg's 32 saves. The Devils won the Atlantic Division three of the last four seasons.

Crosby broke a 1-all tie in the second period, following up shots from the points by Alex Goligoski and Chris Kunitz. Goligoski's shot deflected to Crosby at the right side of the net, and his shot banked off defenseman Colin White's stick and past Hedberg.

Crosby missed a good chance for a second goal when his wrist shot struck the right post 7:30 into the third period. Crosby took a hooking penalty three minutes later, but New Jersey didn't score and finished 1 for 4 on the power play.

Crosby set up Pittsburgh's first goal, sailing a pass from along the left-wing boards to Chris Kunitz for a one-timer from the edge of the right circle at 15:41 of the first. Kunitz also assisted on Crosby's goal.

New Jersey, winless in six consecutive road games, had taken a 1-0 lead 1:21 before that on Brian Rolston's first goal in 10 games.

With Pittsburgh's Pascal Dupuis off for hooking, Patrik Elias' shot from the right point deflected off Rolston's left wrist and fell to his feet, and Rolston lifted the puck inside the near post. Rolston clutched at his wrist as he celebrated his second goal.

NOTES: Hedberg made his seventh consecutive start for the injured Martin Brodeur (bruised right elbow). Brodeur dressed as the backup. ... Crosby played in his 400th career game. ... Penguins F Evgeni Malkin (knee) sat out a second successive game. ... New Jersey is 0-2 against the Penguins after going 6-0 against them last season, holding them to five goals. ... Pittsburgh is 12-0-1 since giving up five goals in the third period of a 7-4 loss to Boston on Nov. 10, its last loss in regulation. 

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