Sidney Crosby dismisses reports of his demise with natural hat trick

Don't look now, Eastern Conference, but you-know-who has rediscovered his scoring touch.

Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Remember when the trendy thing In the NHL was to write off the Penguins and begin penning the epitaph for Sidney Crosby’s career?

Apparently The Kid and his crew have learned some new tricks. In fact, he had a rather nifty trick on Tuesday night.

The Penguins entered the All-Star break riding a three-game winning streak, lifting themselves to the cusp of the postseason picture in a season which saw them fire their head coach in mid-December. Looking to actually move into wild-card position, the Pens sure could have used a fast start Tuesday.

And they got just that, scoring three goals in the game’s first 16:17 to take a 3-1 lead over Ottawa. But a goal in the closing minute of the opening period followed by back-to-back goals — 24 seconds apart early in the second — gave the Senators a 4-3 lead. Then this happened:

Crosby’s three straight goals in barely 20 minutes of play gave him 20 on the season — and gave the Penguins a 6-4 lead. They would win 6-5.

"There are nights where you feel like you have a ton of chances and it doesn’t go in and to get them in bunches is nice, especially a game like this where it’s high scoring and you pretty much know that the last goal is going to win it," Crosby told the media after the game.

The two-time NHL MVP has scored in each of Pittsburgh’s last eight home games. The Penguins have won four straight and lost just once in regulation since Jan. 6. And Crosby has 11 goals since Jan. 1, most in the NHL.

And those Eastern Conference playoff standings? Guess who’s sitting in the final spot now.

The Associated Press contributed to this report