It sure hasn't taken Sidney Crosby long to reclaim his status as the world's best hockey player, has it?
As if hockey fans needed more reason to marvel at his talent, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain again left mouths agape with his otherworldly talents in Thursday's 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders.
Taking a pass from Jarome Iginla at center ice, Crosby skated his way through the Islanders defense and hammered it home past goalie Evgeni Nabokov. The score gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead in the fifth game of their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup, which came into Thursday night tied 2-2.
OK, perhaps I'm underselling it a bit. The goal was quintessential Crosby.
Dashing through the two converging defensemen, Crosby split the two Islanders with a beautiful move and held his ground through a solid check by Thomas Hickey en route to making the entire thing look easy. It was like watching defenders trying to stop LeBron James when he's driving to the basket.
Nabokov made himself so small in net it was almost like he was cowering at the thought of what Crosby was about to do. It was like seeing the fear of an in-training puppy when you catch him chewing the garbage.
Here's the part where we remind you this is just Crosby's fourth game in a month. The Pittsburgh captain missed the final month of the regular season and Game 1 of this series while recovering from a broken jaw, and he's still wearing a bulky protective mask to avoid re-injury.
Crosby, though, hasn't missed a beat in his return. He's scored a point in each of his first four appearances, including having two or more in three of the four contests. Overall, Crosby's eight series points puts him behind only Evgeni Malkin and ties him with Iginla for the Penguins.
That being said, neither Malkin nor Iginla have done anything resembling Crosby's astounding goal on Thursday.