NEW YORK (AP) – Playing arguably their best hockey since the beginning of the season, the New York Islanders traded one of their leading scorers to a conference foe.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, continue to rely on a familiar face to guide them.
Sidney Crosby looks to extend his career-high points streak to 26 games Wednesday night when the Penguins visit the surging Islanders.
Crosby continued the run with a power-play goal in the first period, then scored his 32nd of the season exactly eight minutes later in a 6-3 win Tuesday against Atlanta. He also assisted on third-period goals from Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke for Pittsburgh (25-11-2)
Crosby’s 25-game streak ties him with Wayne Gretzky (1990-91), Bryan Trottier (1981-82), Brett Hull (1991-92) and Bernie Nicholls (1984-85) for the 11th-longest run in NHL history. Current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux holds the franchise record scoring in 46 straight during the 1989-90 season.
During his streak, Crosby has scored 26 goals – including six multi-goal games and two hat tricks – with 22 assists.
“It’s nice when you’re going well and the puck’s going in,” Crosby said. “You just try to focus on your play, even when they’re coming. But I don’t think you think too much about that (streak).”
He may not have much difficulty adding to his totals at Nassau Coliseum. Crosby has eight goals and 19 assists in 15 games on Long Island with two goals with three assists in his last visit there, a 6-5 overtime win on April 11.
More importantly, Pittsburgh is 19-5-1 during Crosby’s run and leads the league with 52 points. The Penguins have scored 21 goals during their current 4-1-0 stretch.
“Our habits are to get to the net and create havoc there, but if you have the opportunity to make plays, you make them,” Crosby said.
Though far less impressive than Crosby’s streak, James Wisniewski had a point in six straight before the Islanders traded their co-leading scorer to Montreal on Tuesday for a two future draft picks. Wisniewski had an assist in Monday’s 7-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Islanders gave up five goals over the last two periods Monday, and the seven goals allowed matched a season-high. Still, the Islanders (9-19-6) are 4-1-1 after losing 20 of 21.
Dwayne Roloson made 45 saves and lost for the first time since Dec. 13. He had gone 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average since that loss prior to Monday.
“It was just one of those things,” Roloson said. “Some lucky breaks and bounces that were going off people and in the net. But it’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for the loss. As a goalie, you’ve got to give your guys a chance to win, and I didn’t do that.”
P.A. Parenteau scored for the third time in four games. John Tavares added an assist and has a point in six straight.
Crosby drew an assist in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win against New York on Oct. 15. The Penguins have won seven of the last eight meetings.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.