Crosby helps Penguins hold off Canucks 3-2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Sidney Crosby knows there's been plenty of talk about his lack of offensive production through the first month of the season.
He quieted the doubters, at least for a little while, on Wednesday night.
Crosby scored his second goal of the season - and first in six games - to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.
The Pittsburgh captain came in with just one goal and four assists and had been held off the scoresheet in nine of his team's first 11 games.
''That happens sometimes,'' said Crosby. ''There's not always a great explanation, but you've got to find a way to ultimately figure it out and produce. That's really been my focus. Dwelling on what's said is not really going to help the puck go in the net.''
David Perron and Eric Fehr also scored, and Phil Kessel had two assists as the Penguins won their fifth straight and improved to 8-1-0 after starting the season with three losses. Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves.
Crosby scored on a 4-on-3 power play after taking a nice feed from Kessel in front and beating Ryan Miller on a slick backhand to make it 2-0 at 7:17 of the third.
''I think my own expectations are the ones I try to meet and those are probably higher than anyone else's,'' said Crosby. ''I expect a lot of myself and I work hard to try and make sure I'm doing my job and creating things and producing.''
Daniel Sedin and Jannik Hansen had goals for Vancouver, and Miller stopped 20 shots.
''We had a good first part of the second period and our last 10 minutes was good,'' Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. ''Other than that we sat back too much and played too slow to be able to beat them.''
The Penguins made it 3-1 just 2:55 after Crosby's goal on a short-handed rush when Fehr skated around Vancouver defenseman Yannick Weber on a delayed penalty and roofed a shot on Miller for his second of the season.
Just back from injury after signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in the offseason, Fehr is the first player in NHL history to score short-handed in each of his first two games with a team.
''We've been on the power play before,'' Fehr said. ''You know how tough it is when penalty killers keep coming at you and don't give you a chance to set up. That's what we have done the last couple of games.''
Vancouver made it interesting late when Sedin scored his fourth of the season on a deflection with 6:01 left before Hansen added his third with 1:07 to go in regulation, but Pittsburgh managed to hold on and keep its winning streak going.
''Other than the last five minutes, I was really happy with our play,'' Penguins head coach Mike Johnston said. ''We didn't give them a lot.''
Down 1-0 after the first period, Vancouver had a great chance to even the score a minute into the second when Hansen moved in alone on Fleury, but his shot glanced on the goalie's glove before hitting the post and staying out.
Fleury was at it again later in the same shift, flinging his body in front of Brandon Sutter's shot from the slot with Vancouver buzzing in the Pittsburgh zone.
The Penguins then had an opportunity of their own with under eight minutes to go in the period, but Kessel's shot off a feed from Evgeni Malkin rang off the crossbar behind Miller, with the puck somehow making it all the way into the Penguins' bench off the carom.
''I thought we really carried the play until those last five minutes and then they got that one and really got a lot of momentum,'' Crosby said. ''We've been in that position a few times this year and found a way to hold on, which is what you need to do, but we probably need to do a better job of controlling the play a little bit when we have leads like that.''
The Penguins opened the scoring 4:53 into the first period after some sustained pressure in the Canucks' zone when Brian Dumoulin's shot from the point was tipped in by Perron for his first of the season.
Notes: The Canucks, who are 4-0-1 away from home, open a season-high seven-game road trip on Saturday at Buffalo. Vancouver's next home game is Nov. 21st against Chicago. ... The Penguins visit Edmonton on Friday. ... Canucks F Chris Higgins returned to the lineup after breaking his foot in Vancouver's first preseason game.