The Pittsburgh Penguins capped the first perfect month in National Hockey League history with a 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders, extending their winning streak to 15 games, two shy of their own league record.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby needed surgery on his mouth last night after he was hit in the face when a shot by his defenseman Brooks Orpik deflected off a stick.
“Sidney took a puck to the teeth and lost a few,” head coach Dan Bylsma said on the team’s website. “We’ll continue to evaluate and monitor that.”
During the past two years, Crosby missed the final 41 games in 2011 and the Stanley Cup finals with a concussion, as well as most of the 2012 regular season with lingering symptoms.
“When you see the replay, he had no chance to move,” forward Jarome Iginla told reporters after his debut with the Penguins.
After two scoreless innings on home ice at Consol Energy Center, Matt Cooke scored eight minutes into the final period and James Neal added a second goal five minutes later.
Goalie Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves as the Penguins, 15-0-0 in March, need two more wins to match the record 17 straight victories set by Mario Lemieux and the 1992-93 Penguins.
“The shutout is nice, but preserving the winning streak is even better,” Vokoun said. “It’s been great.”
Pittsburgh’s next two games are a visit from the Buffalo Sabres on April 2 and a trip to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers on April 3.
Pittsburgh has the best record in the NHL at 28-8-0 for 56 points. The Chicago Blackhawks are second at 25-5-3 for 53 points.