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Crosby climbs all-time scoring list in Pens' shootout win over Habs

Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate - The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Sidney Crosby had Mark Recchi as a mentor when he entered the NHL in 2005-06.

On Wednesday night, Sid the Kid matched his former teammate on the all-time scoring list — and it won’t take long to pass him if the game was any indicator.

Crosby put on a show with two goals and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins came back to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in a never-ending 12-round shootout.

"It goes by really quick,” said Crosby about his career. “To be in company with Recchs, having played with him, having watched him here (in Montreal), I know the type of career he had and how good he was, how consistent he was.

"Definitely a compliment to be in company with him."

Crosby tied Recchi for 13th most points in NHL history with 1,533 (567 goals, 966 assists) with his performance on Wednesday night. The 36-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., passed Paul Coffey (1,531 points) for 14th in the process.

Doing it in Montreal, during the Penguins Dads’ Trip, made it all the more special for Crosby, whose father, Troy, was drafted by the Canadiens in 1984.

“I grew up watching this team, my dad was drafted here,” said Crosby. “So all these years later to be able to do that it's pretty nice."

Jake Guentzel had the other goal for Pittsburgh (13-12-3) a night after the Penguins beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Erik Karlsson had two assists and Alex Nedeljkovic made 39 saves.

But Jansen Harkins played hero with the shootout winner in the 12th round — a franchise record for both teams.

"It's always fun once it starts going, guys on the bench are starting to panic a little bit and hoping for a goal so they don't get picked,” said Karlsson. “But at the same time it's one of those things that guys get opportunities to take a penalty shot that otherwise they might have not, and Harks scored a goal for us.

Harkins had played four minutes 24 seconds in the game — the least of any player in the game.

“I don't know if he's taken a penalty shot before, let alone scored a goal,” said Karlsson. “So it's a big moment for him.”

David Savard, Jayden Struble and Sean Monahan scored for Montreal (12-13-4) and Sam Montembeault stopped 27 shots. The Canadiens have lost eight of their last nine games at Bell Centre.

Montreal failed to score after spending almost an entire 4-on-3 overtime power play in Pittsburgh’s zone.

The Canadiens also controlled the third period and dominated the first period, but allowed the Penguins to come back from down 3-1 in the second to tie it.

“We had so many great moments,” said Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. “And then we shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Montreal had started the game strong as Savard opened the scoring 6:24 into the first period when he picked off a Karlsson turnover. Struble then doubled Montreal’s lead at 12:21.

Crosby cut into the lead 87 seconds later by chasing Kaiden Guhle on the forecheck and forcing a turnover behind Montreal’s net before burying a rebound off a shot from Drew O’Connor.

“He’s still one of the best in the world,” said Guhle about Crosby. “He’s getting older and it seems like he’s almost getting better … you see it around the net especially, he’s so good in front of the net, he’s definitely still one of the best in the league.”

Crosby is tied for the league lead with 14 even-strength goals this season.

"I understand how hard you have to work to play at this level,” said Crosby. “Each and every year I mean, the guys that are coming in are so skilled and so fast. It's not easy, so a lot of work goes into it."

The Canadiens retook a two-goal lead with a power-play goal from Monahan at 15:20.

But it was all Penguins — and Crosby — in the second period.

Guentzel scored off a feed from Crosby 5:36 into the second on the power play to make it 3-2.

Crosby then buried his second of the game at 11:02 with another power-play goal that evened the score.

"It's been 18-19 years that he's been in this league and he's still doing it,” said Karlsson. “We got to find a way to get a few more guys going and support that. He's gonna keep doing his thing and if we can do our thing then you know we're gonna be a really good hockey team."


Canadiens: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Penguins: Visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2023.