Crosby extends scoring streak to 25 games as Penguins win

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby might be creating an intriguing subplot for the Winter Classic: He's riding one of the NHL's longest scoring streaks in the last 20 seasons.

Crosby scored twice during a four-point night to extend his scoring streak to 25 games, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their final home game before the New Years Day's outdoor game by beating the Atlanta Thrashers 6-3 on Tuesday.

Crosby twice answered Thrashers goals by scoring in the first period, then set up Chris Kunitz's goal 9 seconds into the third period and another by Matt Cooke. Craig Adams also scored short-handed for Pittsburgh, which has won 16 of 19.

Crosby will try to extend his streak against the New York Islanders tonight, Pittsburgh's final game before the Classic. The only longer streak over the last two decades was Mats Sundin's 30-game run for Quebec in 1992-93.

"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)."

The Penguins captain, peaking just as the NHL's midseason outdoor game against Washington approaches on Saturday, continues to torment the Thrashers.

Atlanta has lost its last nine in Pittsburgh, and no wonder. Crosby has six goals and four assists in three games against Atlanta this season, including his first natural hat trick during a 3-2 victory in Pittsburgh on Dec. 2.

Crosby, the NHL scoring leader with 65 points to Steven Stamkos' 52 for Tampa Bay, has 32 goals and 33 assists. During the streak, he has 26 goals and 23 assists, and he has at least one goal in five consecutive games.

Wayne Gretzky (1990-91), Bryan Trottier (1981-82), Brett Hull (1991-92) and Bernie Nicholls (1984-85) also had 25 game streaks. The NHL record is Gretzky's 51-game run in 1983-84.

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