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Crosby wins points race, Lecavalier leads in goals as NHL season ends

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Crosby wins points race, Lecavalier leads in goals as NHL season ends

The Canadian Press
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The 19-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prodigy ended the season with 120 points, six more than Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, who won the Art Ross last season with 125.

"It's a nice accomplishment, and I didn't come into this season expecting it," Crosby told reporters after setting up both Pittsburgh goals in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. "I tried to have the best season possible, and I was lucky enough to get it."

Crosby is the youngest Art Ross winner ever, although Wayne Gretzky was slightly younger when he tied Marcel Dionne for the league lead with 137 points in 1979-80. Dionne got the trophy that year for scoring more goals, however.

Crosby also beat out Gretzky by 140 days to become the youngest player ever to post 200 career points. Crosby, who now has 222 regular-season goals and assists, reached 200 at 19 years 207 days old.

He finished the season with 36 goals and 84 assists, but did not lead the circuit in either statistic.

Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning will get the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy for leading the league with 52 goals. Thornton led with 92 assists.

Crosby led in power-play points with 61.

Lecavalier and Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators were the only 50-goal scorers this season. There were five in 2005-06, when Thornton's linemate Jonathan Cheechoo had 56.

Six players - Crosby, Thornton, Lecavalier, Heatley, Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay and Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers - reached the 100-point mark, although Colorado veteran Joe Sakic was at 97 going into the Avalanche's final game on Sunday night against Calgary.

Last season, there were seven.

Heatley became the first player with back-to-back 50s since Pavel Bure of the Florida Panthers in 2001 and 2002.

Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks led the league with 25 power play goals and Sheldon Souray of the Montreal Canadiens set an NHL record for power play tallies by a defenceman with 19.

Crosby teammate Evgeni Malkin, a favourite for the Calder Trophy, led rookie scorers with 33 goals and 85 points, while another Penguins candidate, Jordan Staal, led the league in short-handed goals with seven and in shooting percentage at 22.1 (29 goals on 131 shots).

Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild posted the best goals-against average at 1.97 per game and also had the best save percentage at .929.

Veteran Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils put up a record 48 wins in a season, besting the 1973-74 mark of 47 by Bernie Parent, although the former Philadelphia Flyer did not have the benefit of overtime or shootout wins in his era.

Brodeur also led the league with 12 shutouts. He needs two more to tie George Hainsworth for second place all time with 94 and 11 more to catch all-time leader Terry Sawchuk's 103.

Washington Capitals phenom Alexander Ovechkin, who had 52 goals and 54 assists as a rookie last season, dropped to 46 goals and 46 passes this season, but led the league in shots with 392.

The Ducks' Scott Niedermayer led defencemen in scoring with 69 points, while Souray led in goals with 26.

The best plus-minus this season was earned by Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres at plus-45, edging Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson's plus-42.

The Sabres ended the season tied with Detroit at 113 points, but earned their first President's Trophy as the league's first-place overall team by having three more wins. Detroit was first overall last year with 124 points.

The Red Wings had the top home record at 29-4-8, while Buffalo was best on the road at 25-11-4. Tampa Bay had the best shootout record at 10-2.

Montreal didn't make the playoffs despite the league's best power play scoring percentage of 22.8, but the Vancouver Canucks made it partly by having the best penalty killing at 87.2 per cent.

Montreal and Ottawa tied for the lead with 17 short-handed goals, while the Nashville Predators allowed only two all season. Boston was at the bottom, giving up 18 short-handed goals against.

A milestone fell this season when Colorado defenceman Karlis Skrastins beat Tim Horton's record of 486 consecutive games played by a defenceman.

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Crosby wins points race, Lecavalier leads in goals as NHL season ends