Sidney Crosby Image by: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Sidney Crosby's two-point effort on Wednesday gave him career playoff points Nos. 172 and 173, moving him one ahead of Mario Lemieux for the most in Penguins franchise history. Who are the top all-time and active playoff scorers for the other 30 NHL franchises?
As far as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ record book is concerned, Mario Lemieux is close to untouchable.
Sure, the franchise has featured some of the game’s greatest talents, but let’s look at a brief list of records Lemieux currently holds, shall we? Lemieux is Pittsburgh’s leader in goals, assists, points, plus-minus, power play goals and shorthanded goals in a season. He also holds the all-time marks in games played, goals, assists, points, power play goals and shorthanded goals. On top of that, Lemieux scored 40 hat tricks for the Penguins and took more shots than any other player in franchise history, if you’re into those records, too. This is to say that breaking a Lemieux record in Pittsburgh is akin to snapping a Gretzky mark in Edmonton.
However, if there was any record that was going to fall, it was Lemieux’s record for post-season points, particularly after two straight Stanley Cup runs by the tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin right at the peak of their primes. And, sure enough, Lemieux’s 172-point mark was tied by Crosby early in the first frame Wednesday only for the Penguins’ captain to net his fifth goal of the post-season and record-breaking 173rd point midway through the second.
"A lot of his records aren't going to be touched, so the fact that I can be close to him and around that one (means a lot)," said Crosby after the game, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "I've been fortunate enough to play in a number of playoff games, which helps a lot, but it's nice to be a part of that.”
Now, that said, if Crosby ever slows down — just go with it, no matter how unlikely it seems — he might not hold the record once all is said and done. Following Wednesday’s tilt in which he earned two points of his own, Malkin moved within 10 points of Lemieux, which means he’s only 11 points back of Crosby’s now-franchise-best 173-point mark. A couple of big games here or there and Malkin could get within striking distance of the record. And don’t think Malkin doesn’t know it. "I'm close,” Malkin joked post-game, per The Ahtletic’s Seth Rorabaugh. “I’m coming too.”
So, with Crosby taking over in Pittsburgh and Malkin chasing down second spot, here’s a list of the playoff scoring leaders for the 31 NHL franchises, as well as the active member of each team closest to taking top spot:
ANAHEIM DUCKS: He managed only two assists in the sweep suffered at the hands of the Sharks, but Ryan Getzlaf tops Anaheim’s all-time post-season scoring list with 37 goals and 120 points in 125 playoff games. The assumption here may have been that Teemu Selanne has the record, but he’s well behind with 35 goals and 69 points. The next-best active scorer in the Ducks’ lineup is Corey Perry (89 points in 118 playoff games), but Jakob Silfverberg’s 41 points in 57 games could see him work his way up the list over the next several seasons.
ARIZONA COYOTES: Despite spending his entire career with the franchise, Shane Doan doesn’t top the franchise’s list of post-season scorers. Rather, it’s Dale Hawerchuk’s 49 points that lead the way, despite the fact he left the organization back during the Winnipeg days. There’s only one current Coyotes player with points in the playoffs, and that’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has four playoff points in his career. It’ll be some time before Hawerchuk’s mark falls.
BOSTON BRUINS: Ray Bourque can be found throughout the Bruins’ record book, and his 161 playoff points put him nearly 60 points clear of Phil Esposito for top spot in post-season production. Catching Bourque is going to be a tall task for any of the current Bruins, too. David Krejci — not Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand or Zdeno Chara — is tops among active players with 80 points, little less than half of Bourque’s total in Boston.
BUFFALO SABRES: Jack Eichel’s career is young and he’s locked in for eight years in Buffalo, and if the Sabres can turn things around in the near future, he could climb this list. So, who will he be chasing? Gilbert Perreault, whose 103 points are 50 more than any other Sabre. In terms of active players, Jason Pominville’s return puts him atop the list. He has 28 points in the post-season for Buffalo.
CALGARY FLAMES: Jarome Iginla, right? Or Theoren Fleury? Or what about Joe Nieuwendyk? Wrong, wrong and wrong. Al MacInnis is the most prolific scorer in Flames playoff history, scoring 102 points across 95 games. Iginla is far back with 49 points, Fleury is closer with 62 points and Nieuwendyk lands between them with 60 points to his name. Fittingly, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are tied among active Flames with 11 points apiece.
CAROLINA HURRICANES: Given the talent of yesteryear is all over this list of franchise post-season leaders, one might expect a former Whaler to hold the mark for the Hurricanes franchise. But it’s actually Eric Staal, who had 43 points in 43 playoff games in Carolina. Justin Williams is the next-best current Hurricane, having scored 18 points during his previous tenure with the franchise.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: This is one of those situations where taking top spot from a certifiable legend of the game is entirely within the realm of possibility. Stan Mikita holds the Blackhawks' post-season scoring lead with 150 playoff points during his career, but Patrick Kane is only 27 points back. And even if Kane somehow doesn’t take top spot, Jonathan Toews could. He’s only 40 points back and there could still be some good playoff years left down the road in Chicago.
COLORADO AVALANCHE: Joe Sakic is one of the 10 best playoff scorers in NHL history. Think about that for a second. He registered a whopping 84 goals and 188 playoff points over the course of his career with the Avalanche (and Quebec Nordiques), so if anyone wants to break that mark, it’s going to take some incredibly successful forays into the post-season. For the time being, though, Sakic can watch Nathan MacKinnon chip away. It might take until the end of his career, however, as he only has 15 playoff points thus far.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: As with the rest of the franchises that are relatively new to the NHL, the post-season scoring leaderboard is in a state of flux. That is to say that while Cam Atkinson, he of 10 career playoff points, holds the top mark for post-season scoring, although the lead could change hands another two or three times depending on how deep the Blue Jackets go. If they escape the first round, it wouldn’t be safe to bet against Artemi Panarin taking first place. He’s been on fire and is already within three points of Atkinson in 11 fewer games played.
DALLAS STARS: Another one that’s not even close. Mike Modano was a fixture of the Stars’ offense during their best years and he has the 145 playoff points to prove it. Over the past few years, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin should have been chasing down Modano or at least working their way up the leaderboard, but disappointing seasons have left the two Stars stars at 20 and three points, respectively.
DETROIT RED WINGS: It really is a shame that Henrik Zetterberg, who has 120 career playoff points, is likely to end his career on a bottom-feeding Red Wings team because he was making quite the run up the franchise’s all-time post-season scoring chart. He currently sits fifth. That said, he probably wouldn’t have caught Steve Yzerman, who leads the way with 185 points. No joke, the next-best Red Wing who isn’t on the verge of retirement (sorry, Niklas Kronwall): Jonathan Ericsson, who has 21 career playoff points.
EDMONTON OILERS: Let’s just look at this one this way – Wayne Gretzky had 252 points for the Oilers in the post-season. In his first playoff appearance, Connor McDavid had nine. So, even if McDavid scored about 15 points per post-season for the next 15 years, he’d still be 18 points shy of matching Gretzky’s team record. So, yeah, Gretzky’s staying put unless they make the nets the size of a garage door.
FLORIDA PANTHERS: Reilly Smith is out there in Vegas tearing it up, but if the Panthers would have kept him around, he would've been Florida’s highest active playoff scorer with eight points for the franchise. Instead, it’s Nick Bjugstad who is next in line with four points, putting him 15 points back of surpassing Ray Sheppard for top spot. For those wondering, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov have three points each.
LOS ANGELES KINGS: Take a wild guess. Yes, it’s Wayne Gretzky. The difference here, though, is it’s actually reasonable to believe Gretzky, with 94 playoff points for L.A., could lose his place atop the Kings’ all-time post-season scoring list. Los Angeles had a tough playoff and Anze Kopitar only had two points in four games, but those two points moved him within 28 of Gretzky. And with six years left on his contract, it’s not out of the question that Kopitar could reach 95 points.
MINNESOTA WILD: Zach Parise began the post-season as the franchise’s leading playoff scorer with 28 points and he extended that mark by notching three goals in the first round against the Jets. Thing is, the injury that knocked him out of the series opens the door for Mikko Koivu to take the record. His four assists this post-season give him 28 career playoff points, and a couple big games could move him all the way to first place.
MONTREAL CANADIENS: Jean Beliveau had 176 playoff points. Jacques Lemaire had 139 in the post-season. And each of Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur, Henri Richard Yvan Cournoyer, Maurice Richard and Bernie Geoffrion scored at least 100 points in the playoffs for Montreal. What we’re trying to get at is Brendan Gallagher, the active Canadiens leader with 21 career playoff points, has his work cut out for him to even enter the top 10.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: David Legwand was the Predators’ first draft pick, second overall, in 1998, and it was fitting that he had long held the Nashville post-season scoring record. But he holds that record no more. Entering this post-season, Filip Forsberg had 26 career playoff points, but his three goals and five points have pushed him to 31 and top spot on Nashville post-season scoring list.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: Patrik Elias’ retirement meant the franchise said goodbye to one of its most impactful players and, frankly, a player whose career is fairly underrated. Not only did he win two Stanley Cups and four Eastern Conference titles in New Jersey, he scored 125 points in the playoffs along the way. To put that into context, Travis Zajac, the top active Devil with 28 points, has about one-fifth of the point total despite playing in more than one-third the amount of games.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: No one knows if John Tavares going to leave or if he’s going to stay in New York yet, but it really won’t matter much when it comes to the Islanders’ post-season scoring record. He leads active players with 22 points, but that’s 148 shy of Bryan Trottier’s 170-point record. He’s one of three dynasty-era Islanders with 160 or more playoff points.
NEW YORK RANGERS: For a franchise as storied as the Rangers, one might expect another unreachable top total, but Brian Leetch’s franchise-record 89 playoff points puts top spot within reach should New York have a few good years. Derek Stepan was already getting somewhat close, scoring 49 points during his Rangers career, but the active lead now goes to Chris Kredier, who has 37 points in 77 career playoff games as a Blueshirt.
OTTAWA SENATORS: Daniel Alfredsson ended his Senators career with a nice round number when it came to playoff performance: 100 points. Incredibly, that’s almost double the second-place Jason Spezza, who had 52 post-season points as a Senator, and puts Alfredsson 63 points ahead of current active leader Erik Karlsson. If Ottawa does the previously unthinkable and trades Karlsson, though, Bobby Ryan’s 17 points might move into top spot among active players.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Claude Giroux had a regular season worthy of Hart Trophy contention and much was expected of him in these playoffs, but he hasn’t moved all that much on the Flyers’ all-time playoff scoring list. He remains in ninth, top among active players, with 63 points. But that means he’s only a little over halfway to catching Bobby Clarke, whose 119 points puts him in top spot.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Did you not read what we wrote all the way up at the top? It’s Crosby. He just passed Lemieux. And Malkin’s not far behind.
SAN JOSE SHARKS: Here’s a fun one. Had Patrick Marleau stayed with the Sharks, he would be both the all-time and active leader in post-season scoring for the franchise. However, his departure means he only holds the former mark, having scored 120 playoff points while in San Jose. Now, that said, a good run — and we’re talking really good — by a returning Joe Thornton could see the lead change hands. He’s 15 points back of Marleau for top spot.
ST. LOUIS BLUES: Brett Hull holds down first place in the Blues’ post-season record book having scored 117 points during his tenure in St. Louis, but doesn’t this feel like a record that Vladimir Tarasenko can eventually break? He’s at 32 points right now, but it’s hard not to think the Tarasenko-led Blues could eventually make a deep run that would help him rocket up this list. There’s a lot of career left there.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: These playoffs have seen Crosby take over the Penguins lead, Forsberg move into top spot for the Predators and, if Tampa Bay makes the deep run many are expecting, the Lightning post-season scoring record could fall, too. At present, Martin St-Louis is No. 1 all-time for Tampa Bay with 68 points, but Nikita Kucherov has 51 points of his own. Not too hard to envision the Lightning getting to the final or winning the Stanley Cup on the strength of another 18 points from Kucherov, is it? He has nine in four games already.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: James van Riemsdyk is the active leader with 12 points, but in the interest of looking at this from a franchise-player viewpoint, let’s consider what Auston Matthews would need to do to pass Doug Gilmour’s 77 points for the top spot in playoff scoring. Right now, Matthews has six post-season points, so another eight playoff appearances with about eight points per post-season would push him past Gilmour. Seems well within reach, no?
VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Daniel Sedin scored 71 points in the post-season throughout his career. Henrik Sedin is getting set to skate away with 78 playoff points to his name. But sure enough, this is one of those rare records neither of the Sedins hold. Instead, it’s Trevor Linden, who scored 95 playoff points for the Canucks, who sits atop the list. It turns out Alexander Edler is the next-best active scorer with 31 points, and Bo Horvat is third-best with four points.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS: This one is ever-changing and could switch on a near game-to-game basis at this point. Right now, Reilly Smith holds the lead, having scored three points in Vegas’ sweep of Los Angeles. But there are five players tied with two points apiece and another seven with at least one point. It’s anyone’s record for the taking! (Except for maybe Tomas Tatar, who has gone from deadline pickup to healthy scratch.)
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Alex Ovechkin took over the Capitals’ playoff scoring lead during the 2015-16 post-season — his 73rd point passing Dale Hunter’s former 72-point record — and has only built on it since. He has scored seven goals and 12 points in his past 16 playoff games. The only real threat to his record for the time being is Nicklas Backstrom, who is 14 points back. And just about the only way Backstrom will pass Ovechkin is if the Russian superstar decides he wants to head to the KHL after his current contract.
WINNIPEG JETS: Entering the playoffs, the franchise had a three-way tie for top post-season scorer between Pascal Dupuis, Keith Tkachuk and current Jet Bryan Little. Little has since moved ahead of Dupuis and Tkachuk, but only into an even larger tie. Right now, six players (!) are tied at four points, including Little, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. Like the Golden Knights’ franchise leader, this one is going to take a full post-season or more to sort out.
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