Penguins notebook: Crosby falls short of scoring title
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sidney Crosby failed to win the scoring title Saturday night in Buffalo.
He will settle for an appearance in the playoffs.
Crosby was vying for the third scoring title of his career Saturday, entering the game in a tie with Islanders center John Tavares. But Crosby was held without a point despite dominating significant portions of the game.
Tavares, who owned the tiebreaker against Crosby, scored a goal in the third period against Columbus to move one point ahead of Crosby.
Meanwhile, Jamie Benn, the Dallas forward who entered the game trailing Crosby and Tavares by one point, scored two early goals against Nashville to pass Crosby.
Crosby finished as the league leader with 1.09 points per game.
Although it was not one of Crosby’s best seasons statistically, he played his best down the stretch, producing a point in 11 of the Penguins’ last 15 games.
Letang ‘in good spirits’
A day after Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said it is “not likely” that defenseman Kris Letang would return this season, coach Mike Johnston said Letang was in “good spirits” since suffering a concussion March 28.
There is no timetable for when Letang, who has been riding a stationary bike, might return.
“Those concussions, they take an undetermined amount of time to sort of see where it’s at and how he’s recovering,” Johnston said. “He seems to be doing well. He comes into the office. You talk to him. He’s in good spirits right now. I’m optimistic anyway.”
The Penguins used the same lineup Saturday as they did Friday against the Islanders, including Marc-Andre Fleury in goal.
Johnston said defensemen Derrick Pouliot, who has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, would be ready to return in the playoffs.
Two Penguins played all 82 games this season: forward Nick Spaling and defensemen Rob Scuderi.
“Anybody who lasts through a season like that and plays every game for you … they’re reliable, durable players,” Johnston said. “If you look at those two guys and you were to have a word to describe them, you would say they’re reliable every night. They put in the same effort. They put in the same intensity. They play the same game. Those types of guys are glue guys on your team.”
Right wing Craig Adams did not play in what could be his final regular-season game with the Penguins.
He played only 35 seconds Friday as the team’s 13th forward.