Sidney Crosby made the Penguins’ cap night giveaway at Mellon Arena an appropriate one.
Crosby had his fourth career hat trick and added two assists for his second 5-point game and the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the fourth time in five games, 8-3 over the New York Rangers last night.
“It’s always fun to get the hat trick, but especially tonight it was a lot of fun,’’ said Crosby, who fell a point short of his career high for points.
“It was pretty weird the way it worked out, but what better time to do it?’’
Crosby scored once in the first and twice in the third period and added two first-period assists to help the Penguins rout the Rangers, winless in regulation at Mellon Arena in their past 13 tries.
“When I walked into the building and saw the free hats, the thought did cross my mind that hopefully somebody would get a hat trick to see those things on the ice,’’ Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “It takes a little bit of extra time, but I liked why they went on the ice.’’
Evgeni Malkin, Max Talbot, Mark Eaton, Pascal Dupuis, and Tyler Kennedy also scored for Pittsburgh, which has won six of eight and remained tied with Washington atop the Eastern Conference standings with 36 points.
Defensemen Marc Staal, Matt Gilroy, and Michal Rozsival scored for New York, which has lost four of six and is 6-12-1 since a 7-1 start.
Crosby scored 17:43 into the contest to break a 1-1 tie and give Pittsburgh a lead it would never relinquish, barely keeping a New York clearing attempt in the zone, walking in and firing a wrist shot that beat Rangers backup goalie Steve Valiquette high to the stick side.
Stars 4, Lightning 3 - Tom Wandell scored at 2:12 of overtime to lift host Dallas over Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay rallied from two goals down to send it to overtime, and Wandell ended it with a sharp-angle shot from the edge of the right circle off Loui Eriksson’s pass.
Thrashers 1, Flyers 0 - Johan Hedberg made 34 saves for his first shutout in two years and host Atlanta stopped a 14-game losing streak against Philadelphia.
Rich Peverley scored his 10th goal, his sixth on the power play, midway through the second.
Canucks 7, Oilers 3 - Christian Ehrhoff, Alex Burrows, Mason Raymond, and Daniel Sedin scored in the first 8:25 to pace host Vancouver over Edmonton.
Tanner Glass scored with 16.7 seconds left in the first period as the Canucks jumped quickly on an injury-ravaged Oilers team that played the night before.
Flames 4, Blue Jackets 3 - Backup Curtis McElhinney stopped Anton Stralman in the fourth round, and Jamie Lundmark followed with the shootout winner in visiting Calgary’s comeback victory, as Columbus lost its fifth straight.
Wild 3, Avalanche 2 - Mikko Koivu and Andrew Ebbett scored in the shootout, and Josh Harding stopped both of Colorado’s shooters to help visiting Minnesota win a home-and-home sweep.
Devils 6, Islanders 1 - Brian Rolston and Patrik Elias each had two goals and two assists and Martin Brodeur made 22 saves to lead host New Jersey over New York.
Red Wings 4, Blues 3 - Todd Bertuzzi beat Chris Mason high with a backhander in the fourth round of the shootout to give visiting Detroit the victory over St. Louis.
Predators 4, Panthers 1 - J.P. Dumont and David Legwand scored early in the third period, and Dan Ellis made 23 saves to help host Nashville beat Florida.
Capitals 4, Canadiens 3 - Nicklas Backstrom scored the only shootout goal on Washington’s third attempt for the victory in Montreal.
Backstrom secured the win when he put a shot past Carey Price, who had stopped Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Ovechkin.
Sabres 5, Hurricanes 1 - Ryan Miller made 30 saves and Buffalo scored five goals in the third period to keep Carolina winless on the road.