Thursday, December 30, 2010

DiPietro Stops Crosby Streak at 25 Games...More Importantly With It End The Mustache?

All the worry this week concerning the Winter Classic has been about whether Mother Nature would rain down on Saturday and cause the game to be potentially postponed until Sunday.  What was never considered even possible is that the New York Islanders and Rick DiPietro of all goaltenders would be the one to stop the scoring streak of Sidney Crosby just one game short of the NHL’s biggest regular season spectacle.  You could see all the marketing and conversation that was being set up to discuss the streak on Saturday during the game, but it was DiPietro and the Islanders who ruined all those plans and ended the streak at 25 games. 

Part of the reason there was little worry that the Islanders and DiPietro would stop the Crosby run was because there is no team that Sidney has victimized more often in his career than the team from Long Island.  In 32 career games against the Islanders coming into the contest he had scored an eye popping 62 points with 18 goals and 44 assists.  Combine that with the fact the Islanders are currently 29th in the league in points, 28th in the league in goals against and gave up seven goals to the New York Rangers in their last contest.  If the Crosby’s personal stats against them and the Islanders team stats were not enough mix in Rick DiPietro playing his first game after missing the prior five games with a bad knee and it seemed like a virtual lock for Crosby. 

Love Crosby or hate Crosby the 25-game point streak was an impressive feat and tied 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.  During the streak Crosby netted an unbelievable 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points along the way.

The Penguins certainly tried their best to get Crosby every opportunity to continue it as he would log 26:16 of ice time, but with all the attention he would only account for two shots in the game.  There was an attempt at some shenanigans by the Penguins with 7:01 left in the final period when a penalty shot was called for when an Islanders player covered the puck in his own crease.  Crosby was not on the ice at the time of the play so he was ineligible to be the shooter, but that did not stop the Penguins from trying though they were stopped and Kris Letang would miss the shot.

For good measure DiPietro would stop Crosby in the shootout and while Penguins fans, NHL executives and corporate sponsors were sad for the end of the streak it was the highlight of the year for the Islanders and a reason for Crosby haters to rejoice.  With any luck for viewers of the Winter Classic, especially in HD it will mean the end of that awful “mustache” he has been growing as well because the end of that thing will be even sweeter than the end of the streak itself.  Now we are left to ponder if what DiPietro and the Islanders did might be worse for the NHL and the Winter Classic than the rain Mother Nature could bring on Saturday.