Sidney Crosby showed why he was the best player in the league again, as he led his Pittsburgh Penguins to a win over the Steven Stamkos-led Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-4. He registered four points, including his first hat trick since 2010 against the then Atlanta Thrashers.
Of course, that same season is where his career took a turn for the worst, missing 113-of-212 games in that three-year span due to concussion symptoms. Some began to wonder if we would ever get to see Sid at the top of his game again.
That same year was where his concussion problems started, Crosby was on pace for the best season of his career, having already scored 32 goals in only 41 games, a 64-goal pace over a full season that would have shattered his previous career high of 51. It would have also easily netted him the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer as that year’s winner, Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, scored 50-goals.
Dealing with injuries, Crosby’s goal-scoring pace suffered over the next two years, only scoring 23 goals in 58 games in that two-year span, including last season where he was the Hart Trophy favorite until he suffered a broken jaw. That current pace only had him heading towards a 32-goal season, a far cry from the 51-goal season, and 64-goal season pace he was on at the time of his concussion.
This year has been different, though, as through five games, it appears we may be finally see the fully healthy Crosby, hungry to score goals. He was criticized early in his career for not shooting the puck enough, and in turn, not scoring goals.
That was until one offseason where he decided to put a little more curve on his blade and shoot more. That was the offseason before he put up 51, so when Crosby sets his mind to doing something, he generally does it.
With an almost unmatched ability to deflect the puck, Crosby scored two of his three goals against the Lightning on redirects. His shot has also taken strides forward, making him the ultimate threat from anywhere on the ice.
Crosby is picking up where he left off last year before that debacle against the Boston Bruins and is taking his team for the ride. Obviously, he isn’t going to keep up this pace, but five goals in five games is an excellent start to the season, and he seems to be prepared to continue this pace up, as he is averaging more shots on goal than he has at any other point in the last four seasons.
Crosby is a man on a mission, and there are very few, if any, that can stand in his way when he gets it going.