The Pittsburgh Penguins won their 15th straight game with a victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday, capping off a perfect month of March but possibly suffering a costly loss in the meantime.
The team rolled to a 2-0 victory over the Islanders on the strength of third-period goals from Matt Cooke and James Neal. With a new acquisition of Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames, the Penguins appear geared up for a run at the Stanley Cup.
Iginla came to the team in a trade late this week, though it appeared the Flames longtime captain would be going to rival Boston. A deal was reportedly close with the Bruins, but Iginla vetoed the trade at the last minute to go to the Penguins instead.
Winning their 15th straight game was bittersweet for the Penguins, who lost captain Sidney Crosby when he was hit in the mouth with a puck.
“It’s very tough to see that happen to anybody on the ice, but this is your teammate and Sid’s such a great player,” Iginla said. “It’s a very, very unfortunate play.”
Coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby lost several teeth and needed emergency oral surgery. Bylsma didn’t know how much more time Crosby would miss.
“I just know he had some issues with his teeth,” Bylsma said of Crosby, who is leading the league in points with 71. “Just from the replay I know that.”
The injury re-ignited concussion fears for Crosby. In the last two years the star player has missed large chunks of time due to head injuries, including the final 41 games of the 2011 regular season and playoffs as well as most of the 2012 regular season.
With their 15th straight win, the Penguins are on the doorstop of the all-time NHL record. The 1992-93 Penguins won 17 straight games.
The Penguins accomplished another feat during their winning streak. The team finished 15-0-0 in March, the first time any NHL team has registered a perfect month.