Twelve days ago, Sidney Crosby scored a goal and added two assists in Pittsburgh’s 7-6 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens, his favourite childhood team.
The Penguins captain followed that performance with multi-point efforts in defeating Tampa Bay and Philadelphia before capping a week worthy of second-star honours by the National Hockey League with five assists against the New York Islanders to extend his points streak to eight games.
It must be March.
The 25-year-old Crosby has been a tough player to contain since he entered the league in 2005 but particularly in March and early April when he has collected 163 points in 106 games in his career (through March 11 of this year) for an average of 1.538 points per start (see gallery above).
Sid the Kid is starting to pull away in what was a tightly contested NHL scoring race two weeks ago, leading the way with 45 points in 27 games for a 1.67 points-per-game average, followed by Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (38, 1.46).
“That Philly game told me that Crosby has the crown back as the best player in the game,” former Penguins forward Rick Tocchet told Pennsylvania-based McKeesport Daily News. “He willed them to win that game. … I don’t know how he made some of the plays I saw.”
Wayne Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time points leader, told ESPN.com recently that Crosby is the best all-around player in the game.
“His hockey sense is so strong and so solid,” said the Great One, “combined with his God-gifted talent of being able to see the ice, see the entire picture in front of him.”
Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who has been golden in March/April, averaging 1.257 points each outing, is far off the mark this season with five points in six games (0.83 PPG). Dallas’ Jaromir Jagr, third on the list of active leaders for the two-month stretch (1.266), is averaging a point a game this month with four goals in as many games.
Other March/April standouts over the years (and featured in the gallery) include Evgeni Malkin, Teemu Selanne and Joe Thornton.
But so far they aren’t among the NHL leaders for the month, as a couple of Crosby’s teammates, forward Chris Kunitz and defenceman Kris Letang, are right behind him averaging 2.17 and 2.00 points per game, respectively.
Rounding out the top five is Carolina’s Alexander Semin (1.83) and 37-year-old Martin St. Louis (1.83) of the Tampa Bay Lightning.