– Nine days ago, Alex Ovechkin
became the fifth player in NHL history to produce at least four 100-points seasons in his first five years in the League.
His biggest rival made that list swell to six Tuesday night. Sidney Crosby
had 1 goal and 2 assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins
in a 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals
at Mellon Arena.
The three-point night gives Crosby 100 for the season with three games to play.
"Oh yeah," Crosby said when asked if it meant a lot to reach 100 again. "I mean it is not easy for sure. It is nice. It is not everything, but it is certainly a good milestone."
Ovechkin and Crosby join a distinguished list of all-time greats. The other four players in the "Four in Five" club are Wayne Gretzky
, Mario Lemieux
, Peter Stastny
and Dale Hawerchuk
Gretzky and Lemieux are the only players to go 5-for-5. Crosby likely would have made that duo a trio had he not missed 29 games because of injury during his third NHL season when he scored at an 111-point pace when healthy.
The Capitals forged a 2-0 lead Tuesday night, but Crosby brought the Penguins within a goal with his 48th goal of the season. Later he fed a pass to defenseman Jordan Leopold
for Pittsburgh's second goal and assisted on another Leopold tally for point No. 100.
Crosby's career high of 120 points came in 2006-07, when he became the youngest scoring champion in any major North American professional sports league. He has a chance to top the 103 he collected last season and make Year Five his second-most prolific NHL campaign.
If Crosby is able to tie or surpass his 103 points from 2008-09 in the final three games of this season, he will also reach another major milestone. The Penguins' captain is three points shy of 500 for his career, and he would be the 10th player in NHL history to reach 500 in his first five seasons.
There was a brief delay shortly after his 100th point to fix a pane of broken glass behind the Washington net. His season numbers were flashed on the scoreboard, and the Mellon Arena crowd gave him a standing ovation, which he acknowledged with a quick wave.
"Sid is a special player," Jordan Staal
said. "He works so hard and he deserves every moment that he gets. Tonight was a big moment for him. It obviously wasn't the win that we wanted, but it is a great accomplishment. It is not easy, but he makes it look easy."
As for a peak into the future for Crosby and Ovechkin, they have plenty of work to do to keep up with the consistency of Gretzky, Lemieux, Stastny and Hawerchuk. Those four NHL greats all had at least six 100-point campaigns in their first seven seasons, while Gretzky produced 13 years of 100-plus points in the first 14 years of his career.