Penguins notebook: Sidney Crosby in bit of a goal drought
February 4, 2014 8:15 PM
Ralph Freso/Associated Press
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby skates with the puck around the defense of the Coyotes' Shane Doan during the first period of a game last week.
By Shelly Anderson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Penguins center Sidney Crosby holds a substantial lead in the NHL scoring race, but he hasn’t been adding to his point total at lightning speed lately.
Crosby has 75 points in 56 games going into the game tonight at Buffalo. That was nine more points than Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and the New York Islanders’ John Tavares had before games Tuesday night.
But Crosby has gone five games without a goal, although he has three assists in that span.
He has been held without a point the past two games — just the second time this season he has gone two games in row with no goals or assists — and in three of the past five games.
“You want to score,” Crosby said Tuesday after practice at Consol Energy Center.
“I definitely would like to have more chances. I think you’re always looking at chances as a measuring stick. If you’re getting lots and you’re not scoring, that’s a little more acceptable. I think there probably could be a little bit more chances. I’d like to find a way to generate those a little bit more.”
In late October and early November, Crosby went seven games in a row with no goals, although he had five assists.
Hockey played in January and February is different from the first couple of month of the season, though.
“Teams are playing pretty tight, but that’s something that as the year goes on it’s not going to get any easier,” Crosby said. “It’s tougher and tougher as you get closer and closer to the playoffs. It’s got to come from me finding ways to generate offense, whether that be around the net or creating with speed.
“Whatever that is, there’s definitely room for improvement and getting more chances.”
Injury, illness updates
Defenseman Kris Letang did not travel with the Penguins to Buffalo, but there was no further update on his status. Letang has been ill for several days and is undergoing tests.
Winger Taylor Pyatt will be out until after the Olympic break because of an unspecified injury, coach Dan Bylsma said. Pyatt left the game Monday against Ottawa in the first minute after he fell awkwardly into the boards while attempting to finish a check.
Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Robert Bortuzzo did not practice Tuesday. They were given “maintenance days,” according to Bylsma. Three players — forwards Beau Bennett (wrist) and Joe Vitale (wrist) and goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) skated before practice.
More raves for Fleury save
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was still hearing about his stunning glove save Monday night on Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson to preserve a tie in what became a 2-1 overtime victory for the Penguins against the Senators.
“A bunch of friends and family texted me about it,” Fleury said.
Asked about the nature of the texts, Fleury grinned.
“Just, ‘Good save,’ ” he said.
Fleury improved to 30-13-1. His 30 wins lead the NHL. It is the sixth time he has reached 30, and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the fastest Penguins goalie to reach that total, doing so in 56 games.
The Penguins reassigned forward Andrew Ebbett to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. He had one assist in seven games. They then recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre. He had a goal — his first in the NHL — in nine games with the Penguins earlier this season. … Rookie Brian Gibbons, who scored his first career power-play goal against Ottawa, is developing a reputation for being ultra-nonchalant. “After he scored, he tips the shot … instead of celebrating, he tests his stick on the ice to see if it was broken.” Bylsma said. “Guys were giving him grief about it [Tuesday].”
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