Crosby leads streaking Pens against Rangers

( – The NHL’s reigning leading scorer is at it again.

Sidney Crosby will try to build off his five-point performance from the
weekend on Tuesday night when the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins visit the New
York Rangers and Madison Square Garden.

After topping the league with 104 points a season ago, Crosby is again pacing
the NHL with 24 points, including a league-leading 17 assists. Five of those
came in Saturday’s 6-1 rout of the Buffalo Sabres, with Crosby assisting on
each of Pittsburgh’s first five goals.

Pittsburgh’s captain has 10 goals and 26 assists over a 19-game point streak
versus the Sabres.

“I don’t really have a great explanation for you,” Crosby said. “When I come
here, for some reason, the ice has always been good and feels good that way.
Sometimes that helps, but that being said, I don’t think there’s any real
explanation. We’ve been in some low-scoring games here and got a fluky one at
the end here or there. There’s no rhyme or reason, but we’ve got to keep it

Kris Letang added two goals and two assists, while Patric Hornqvist ended with
a pair of tallies and an assist in the Penguins’ seventh straight win. Marc-
Andre Fleury made 20 saves.

Pittsburgh has won seven in a row for the first time since Dec. 9-21 of last
season and a victory tonight would give the franchise its longest string of
victories since a perfect 15-game March in 2013.

Crosby has 65 points in 47 career games versus the Rangers, with seven goals
and 18 assists for 25 points in 24 meetings at Madison Square Garden.

While the Penguins rely on Crosby to help produce goals, their defense will
have to keep an eye on the Rangers’ Rick Nash, who is tied for the NHL lead
with 11 goals.

Nash has seven goals and 12 points in 18 games versus the Penguins, but was
held without a point in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Carl Hagelin scored the only goal of the game for the Rangers, who have lost
two straight in regulation and five of past seven overall (2-3-2). Henrik
Lundqvist allowed two goals on 32 shots in the loss, one that saw New York get
outshot 33-21.

“The effort through the game was unacceptable,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal
said. “We need to turn this thing around and play some better hockey.”

Staal has helped lead a defensive grouping that is without Ryan McDonagh
(separated shoulder) and Dan Boyle (broken right hand) but is eligible to have
John Moore tonight. The blueliner finished serving up a five-game suspension
for a hit to the head of Minnesota’s Erik Haula on Oct. 27.

The Penguins and Rangers split four meetings last season, but Pittsburgh has
won 10 of the last 13 overall and 10 of the previous 14 encounters at MSG.

Fleury is 26-14-8 with a 2.69 goals against average, .911 save percentage and
four shutouts in his career versus the Rangers, while Lundqvist has gone
25-19-7 with a 2.46 GAA and .913 save percentage when facing off with the