Notebook: NHL scoring race down to No. 1 picks
• Sidney Crosby will, more than likely, capture the NHL scoring title this season. Though having a 19-year-old finish as the league’s leading scorer would be a major accomplishment, what may be even more noteworthy is who will finish behind him. Crosby is leading the league with 117 points, San Jose’s Joe Thornton is second with 109, and Tampa Bay sniper Vincent Lecavalier is third with 106. Should these players remain as the top three when the season ends Sunday, it would mark the first time since the NHL instituted its current draft format in 1963 that three players taken first overall in the draft finished as the league’s top three scorers. “It’s probably a bit of a coincidence,” Crosby said. “But, at the same time, with such an importance on building teams now, with the salary cap and things like that, draft picks are really important, and I think it’s a testament to what (Thornton and Lecavalier) have done, too.”
• Defenseman Ryan Whitney and forward Mark Recchi sat out the team’s practice Monday at Southpointe. Whitney is nursing a slight groin injury, while the 39-year-old Recchi was given a day off. Whitney’s status for the team’s game tonight against Buffalo is undetermined. Recchi and Whitney, along with defenseman Sergei Gonchar, are the only players to dress for all 79 games this season.
• Quotable: “We’ve played very well against the Sabres this year. They’re a team that plays a high-tempo game, they skate well, and we can match their speed. What I like about our team is that we’re capable of playing a speed game, play a good defensive game or play a tough game.” — Penguins coach Michel Therrien
90 – Power-play goals scored by the Penguins this season.
119 – Team and NHL record for power play goals in a season set in 1988-89.
— Keith Barnes