Sidney Crosby’s four-point performance against Winnipeg Tuesday was another high point of many in his seven-season NHL career. What have been Crosby’s all-time best moments on the ice? That’s our focus in this week’s THN.com Top 10.
10. Winter Classic shootout goal
The NHL’s inaugural Winter Classic in Buffalo between the Sabres and Pens had all the right elements to it – snow falling outdoors, a close game between two solid teams and a storybook ending when Crosby scored on Ryan Miller. It was another indication the phenom could raise his game when the hockey world was watching.
9. Eight points in his first rookie exhibition game as a junior
Sure, it was only an exhibition game, but when Crosby exploded for eight points in his very first appearance with Rimouski, he acquired the nickname ‘Darryl’ (as in Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, whose famous 10-point performance as a Leaf is a huge part of hockey lore) and gave notice he could be a one-man force with which to reckon.
8. First six-point game of his NHL career
Crosby has played 22 games in which he’s posted four points, but on Dec. 13, 2006, Crosby went off for one goal and five assists against the Pens’ arch-rivals in Philadelphia. Not bad for a 19-year-old in his sophomore NHL campaign.
7. First return from concussion vs. Islanders
Hockey fans collectively held their breath when Crosby returned from a concussion after nearly a year’s absence. They needn’t have, as he imposed his will on the Islanders, scoring twice and adding two assists in a 5-0 rout.
6. First 50-goal season
Crosby reached the 30-goal mark in three of his first four NHL campaigns, but in 2009-10, he netted 50 for the first time, finishing with 51 and securing his first Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer.
5. World Junior Championship Gold
Crosby played in two IIHF World Junior Championships. The first time, in 2004, he and his Canadian teammates won silver. But the following year, Crosby potted six goals and nine points in six games to lead Canada to gold. It was the first international hockey gold medal of his career, but wouldn’t be his last.
4. Twenty-five game point streak
Last season, Crosby stitched together the 11th-longest point streak in NHL history. It began Nov. 5, 2010 against Anaheim, ended Dec. 28 against the Islanders and saw him put up 50 points (including two hat tricks) over that span.
3. Playoff hat trick vs. Capitals
In the 2009 playoffs, Crosby’s rivalry with fellow superstar Alex Ovechkin was at its peak – and when the Pens and Washington Capitals met in the second round of the playoffs, the two faced off head-to-head. In Game 2 of that series, Ovechkin netted a hat trick, but not to be outdone, Crosby did as well. The Caps won Game 2 by a score of 4-3, but Crosby’s ability to match Ovechkin’s dynamic play set the tone for Pittsburgh’s eventual series win (after being down two games to none) as the team marched to a championship.
2. First Stanley Cup
Crosby and the Pens nearly won the Cup the previous season, but lost in the final to the powerhouse Red Wings. When the teams faced off again in the 2009 final, the result was different. A knee injury limited Crosby to just 10 minutes of ice time in Game 7 of that series, but his presence and leadership on the bench – not to mention the 15 goals and 31 points he amassed in 24 games of that post-season – helped the Penguins to championship glory.
1. Olympic gold medal goal
The 2010 Winter Olympics were situated in Vancouver, putting an enormous amount of pressure on the Canadian men’s team. And when the gold medal game against the U.S. went to overtime, the pressure ramped up to unheard-of levels. But once again, Crosby rose to the occasion, scoring the tournament-winner at the 7:40 mark to give Canada gold.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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