The Pittsburgh Penguins have won eight of their last ten games, and it’s no coincidence that Sidney Crosby has at least one point in every one of those matches. Since the Penguins’ win against the New York Islanders on Jan. 5, Crosby has scored 20 points in ten games in the form of three goals and seventeen assists.
If there’s any time for the Penguins’ captain to be hitting a hot streak, now would be it. Since the beginning of January, the team has gone from sitting outside the playoff bubble to rising to the second spot in a Metropolitan Division that looks like it will be sending five teams to the playoffs. It’s the perfect time to be heating up.
The New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes — four teams vying with the Penguins for a spot in the playoffs — all have losing records over their last 10 games while the Penguins begin to pull ahead in the standings, led by none other than their captain, who has been producing a whopping two points per night.
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Crosby on the Rise
Crosby’s ridiculous point production this month is welcome for the team after a slow December for the Penguins’ star center, where Crosby averaged only 0.77 points per game. The high production he’s been putting up in January makes December look like it will be an outlier in his season as opposed to a sign of decline.
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Crosby has never finished a season with a pace lower than one point per game, so the 0.93 points per game he was averaging in the first three months of the 2017-18 run was a worrying regression for the Penguins. Now, his successful January has corrected his scoring rate to a far more regular 1.08 points per game. That ranks him 18th among current players this season.
With this impressive run in January, he has once again risen to a point-per-game place as he’s climbed the scoring charts, now ranking seventh in the points race. That puts him just three points behind teammate Phil Kessel — who is, not coincidentally, on track for the best season of his career — and eight points out of the league lead, currently held by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov.
Crosby’s Point Streak History
Crosby is no stranger to a ten-game point streak. He put up his first over a decade ago, in January of 2006, when, during his first season in the league, he put up 17 points in 10 games.
Four years after his first long point streak, Crosby was the talk of the league once again when he put up an incredible 25-game streak, which ranked as the 11th-longest in NHL history and the third-longest ever achieved by a Penguin. Eight years later, he now once again has the longest active streak in the league. The Penguins sure wouldn’t mind him going on another run for the history books. After a first half of the season where the Penguins struggled to find consistent production, Crosby’s impressive January point total is part of the reason that for the first time all season, the Penguins have a positive overall goal differential.
Julia Stumbaugh is a student at the College of William & Mary.