Penguins vs. Senators Preview
PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) - Sidney Crosby has compiled one of the longest scoring runs seen in the NHL in nearly 20 years. Marc-Andre Fleury is putting together a pretty good stretch of his own in goal.
Crosby will try to extend his points streak to 24 games as Fleury looks to continue his surge Sunday night when the Penguins visit the Senators.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Penguins -137 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Senators. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 78% of more than 197 bets for this game have been placed on the Penguins -137.
Crosby ran his streak to 23 by picking up a goal and assist in a 3-2 shootout win over Washington on Thursday. The NHL's leading scorer with 60 points (29 goals, 31 assists) in 36 games is on the league's longest scoring run since Quebec's Mats Sundin opened the 1992-93 season with a point in 30 consecutive contests.
Crosby scored just 3:21 into the game and assisted on Chris Kunitz's goal in the opening seconds of the third period.
"I try not to think about it, just go out there and do the same thing every night and hope that I capitalize and create things," the Penguins captain said. "You've still got to evaluate your game. It's not always based on points."
Fleury stopped 32 shots through overtime and the final six attempts he faced in the tiebreaker to improve to 15-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average in 18 games since Nov. 12. He had been 1-6-0 with a 3.54 GAA over the first month of the season.
Thanks to them, Pittsburgh (24-10-2) has the league's best record, one point ahead of Philadelphia. But, Crosby - a Nova Scotia native - and the Quebec-born Fleury haven't enjoyed any great success playing professionally in Canada's capital city.
Crosby has tallied a goal with two assists to help the Penguins beat the Senators twice in Pittsburgh in 2010-11. However, he has only five assists over nine career games in Ottawa and has not recorded one in his last two visits.
Crosby has failed to score a goal in eight current arenas, with Scotiabank Place being the only Eastern Conference venue where he's yet to do so.
Fleury turned aside 43 shots in a 2-1 home victory over the Senators on Nov. 26 - just his sixth win in 16 career games against them. He's 3-3-0 with a 4.47 GAA over eight career games in Ottawa.
The Senators (15-17-4), who have dropped six of seven at home, return there after a 2-1 win at Nashville on Thursday. Brian Elliott, starting again for the injured Pascal Leclaire, made 25 saves en route to his 11th win.
"You need to have the goaltender be your backbone," coach Cory Clouston said. "He doesn't always have to win you games, but he needs to be solid and give you confidence. When your goaltender does that it allows you to play your game a lot more relaxed and a lot more comfortable."
Despite allowing just 14 goals, Elliott is 0-3-2 in his last five home games. Leclaire, who missed seven games earlier this season (groin) and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, could play in this contest.
Whoever starts in goal will also have to contend with a red-hot Evgeni Malkin, who has five goals and five assists in his last five games for the Penguins. Malkin is averaging a point per game in his career in Ottawa with five goals and three assists.