Power Ranking Sidney Crosby's 25 Biggest NHL Career Highlights so Far
If all goes according to plan, the first period of Crosby’s NHL career is still not quite finished and the next two-thirds will be more fulfilling than the first.
To date, through seven years in The Show, he has had a mixed bag of hardware and hard times. But if the worst of his health is behind him, Crosby and the Penguins should be primed to catch a second wind together after back-to-back losses in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
While everyone waits for (hopefully no more than) two months to pass and the 2012-13 campaign to commence, here is a quick glance back at Crosby’s top 25 NHL moments to date.
25. Flying High
24. Channeling Mr. Hockey
After having a hand in three unanswered goals in the first period, one coming off his stick and two others going to Evgeni Malkin, Crosby completed his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
Gritty Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference had the “honor” of being a rare Crosby dance partner early in the second period of an eventual 5-4 shootout win for the Pens.
23. Thrashing towards a Win
Two assists, both on the power play, helped the Penguins to their first victory in Crosby’s career. The team had gone 0-4-5 and trailed this game, 4-0, before topping the Atlanta Thrashers, 7-5.
22. First Impressions of the Second Season
The Crosby-led Penguins took at least a baby stride when he scored the clinching goal in the franchise’s first playoff-game victory of his era. The opposing Ottawa Senators would rebound to win the next three games and the series, but Pittsburgh would grow quickly from the learning experience.
21. Divisional Dominion
In the regular-season finale, Crosby’s 2-1-3 scoring log spelled a critical difference in a 4-2 victory over the Flyers, which clinched Pittsburgh’s first and so far only Atlantic Division title in his tenure.
20. Making Sens
An assist on Malkin’s power-play icebreaker and an empty-netter bookended the scoring in a 3-1 win over Ottawa, finishing a sweep of the Senators and putting the Pens in the second round for the first time in Crosby’s three-year career.
18. Making Every Point Heard
17. The First Hot Streak
16. Comeback Kid: Part I
Nearly 10 months after being idled by a concussion, Crosby’s debut in the most recent season featured two goals and two assists in a 5-0 home victory over the New York Islanders. He would finish the calendar month with nine assists and 11 points in five appearances.
15. Comeback Kid: Part II
After spending another three months on the sidelines recovering from recurrent concussion symptoms, Crosby flaunted fresh legs yet again when he returned for a bout with the Rangers. He tallied two assists that night followed by a playmaker hat trick two evenings later in identical 5-2 wins over the Rangers and Devils.
14. Super Star Sunday
13. Putting Up a Fight
12. The First Prince of Wales Tale
Crosby assisted on Ryan Malone’s icebreaker and added another helper to help polish off Philadelphia, 6-0, and clinch his team’s first-ever berth in the championship round.
11. Learning the Tricks of the Trade
Crosby’s first NHL hat trick was the top sidebar in an 8-2 thrashing of the Flyers in Philadelphia.
10. Big Streak
Crosby went on a 16-game point-getting streak spanning Feb. 16 through April 1, 2009, tallying nine goals and 27 points in that span, including 10 power-play assists.
9. Bigger Streak
Crosby logged a 19-game point-getting streak spanning Oct. 6 through Nov. 17, 2007, amassing 11 goals and 28 points in that span.
8. Two Point Whoa
Crosby went on a 25-game point-getting streak spanning Nov. 5 through Dec. 28, 2010. The streak included six multi-goal games, two hat tricks, one playmaker hat trick, 16 multi-point efforts and a cumulative 26-24-50 scoring log.
Do the math. That is a precise median of two points per game retained through almost a full two months.
7. Staying in Steeltown
Moments prior to a home date with the Buffalo Sabres, Mario Lemieux, Crosby’s predecessor as the face of the franchise, confirmed that the Penguins would stave off relocation.
Crosby ensured the follow-through on Lemieux’s wish for the crowd to “have a great night” when he logged three regulation points and the shootout clincher in a 5-4 victory.
6. Capping Off the Enemy
Crosby’s three-point effort fueled a Game 7 victory over the host Capitals, returning the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals. A breakaway goal by the Pittsburgh captain started in part by a turnover from the Washington captain proved the third or fourth dagger in a 6-2 decision.
Along with a similar Game 7 loss to the Rangers this past year, that is the closest Ovechkin and his Caps have come to appearing in the third, let alone fourth round of the playoffs. Crosby and his Penguins still have two of both on their rival.
5. Every Time He Touches
Crosby extended his point-scoring streak to six games with a pair of assists.
More notably, though, a 4-1 triumph swept the Carolina Hurricanes and clinched Pittsburgh’s second straight conference championship. But unlike the previous season, the young Penguins captain defied superstition by clutching the Prince of Wales Trophy.
What happened next will be told a couple of slides from now.
4. Classic Ending
The inaugural NHL Winter Classic set a lofty precedent for each of its followers in every department. A picturesque snow flurry was accompanied by a 65-minute deadlock, ultimately amounting to Crosby’s chance to polish off the extra point for the visiting Penguins.
As it happened, as evidenced in a previous slide and in one to follow, this would neither be the first time Doc Emrick said Crosby has “the game on his stick.” Nor would it be the last time Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller was Crosby’s victim in a historic encounter before a continental television audience.
3. Hart Pounding
After losing a much-debated 2005-06 Calder Trophy derby to Ovechkin, Crosby came back with a sophomore surge, tallying 84 assists and 120 points to claim the 2007 Art Ross Trophy as well as MVP accolades.
2. The Kid and the Cup
Still two months away from turning 22, Crosby became the youngest captain to accept the Stanley Cup from an NHL president or commissioner after his Penguins avenged the previous year’s loss to the Red Wings.
A 2-1 triumph before a stunned congregation at Joe Louis Arena completed Pittsburgh’s comeback from an initial 2-0 series deficit and constituted the first Game 7 road win in a Cup championship since 1971.
1. Leading the Gold Rush
Feb. 28, 2010
If the host Canadians were to win the epic 2010 gold-medal tilt at the Vancouver Olympics, who better to end it than Crosby? And what better way to end it than by sneaking an overtime goal behind the back of the aforementioned Miller?
That’s what I thought.