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Greatest Moments

Greatest Moments of NHL Season … So Far: first round, matchup 31

Crosby's 800th assist for Penguins faces Senators forward Ryan's return to Ottawa in first round of Greatest Moments

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Greatest Moments: Matchup 31

Foligno's incredible goal vs. Crosby's 800th assist

Vote between Nick Foligno's between-the-legs goal and Sidney Crosby becoming the 6th-fastest to 800 assists in the Greatest NHL Moments..So Far

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The 2019-20 NHL season had many incredible moments before it paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and now fans can decide which one was the best.

The Greatest Moments of the NHL season … So Far have been placed into a bracket of 64 entries, and fans will vote on one matchup per day, ultimately deciding the greatest moment up until this point.

Fans can vote on Twitter and Instagram each day from noon until 10 a.m. ET the next day. Each day, the winner of that matchup will be revealed, and a new set of moments will go head-to-head.

Though fans will have the ultimate say, two NHL.com staffers will weigh in on the matchup each day to give his or her opinion on which one should advance to the next round.

In the matchup Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th goal for the Washington Capitals defeated Nick Foligno scoring a between-the-legs goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The matchup Thursday pits Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby becoming the sixth player in NHL history to reach 800 assists in fewer than 1,000 regular-season games March 3 against Bobby Ryan's hat trick in an emotional return to Canadian Tire Centre with the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 27.

 

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Maybe 800 assists don't feel like that big of a deal, especially considering everything else Crosby has accomplished. But Crosby reached the milestone in his 980th NHL game, a 7-3 win against the Senators. Only five players did it in fewer: Wayne Gretzky (527), Mario Lemieux (661), Paul Coffey (880), Adam Oates (919) and Bryan Trottier (969). In NHL history, Crosby ranks sixth in assists per game at 0.81 (minimum 300 games), behind Gretzky (1.32), Lemieux (1.13), Bobby Orr (0.98), Peter Forsberg (0.90) and Connor McDavid (0.87). It makes you wonder how many assists he'd have if he hadn't missed so many games for various injuries, and it makes you hope he doesn't miss more because of the season pause due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Video: OTT@PIT: Crosby notches 800th assist on Zucker's goal

 

Jon Lane, staff writer

Crosby has an extensive list of NHL milestones and very likely will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ryan's story struck an emotional chord and was another reminder that athletes aren't robots. They're human beings who have thoughts, feelings and challenges like everyone else. Ryan entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program because he realized nobody can go at it alone. He overcame his fear to ask for help, doubly difficult in the public eye, and his notoriety as a professional athlete encouraged others who need help that it's OK to ask for it. Upon his return to Ottawa, Ryan lit up Canadian Tire Centre starting with his first goal since Oct. 2. Chants of "Bobby! Bobby!" grew louder after his second goal. The one Ryan put into an empty net to complete the hat trick led to a standing ovation, during which a camera caught him on the bench saying thank you. The human element of it all was poignant. On the surface, Ryan scored three goals to win a hockey game, 5-2 against the Vancouver Canucks. The larger picture was a man getting a second lease on life backed by incredible support from the Ottawa community. Powerful stuff.

Video: VAN@OTT: Ryan completes hat trick

Tweet from @NHL: Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) joining the 700-goal club is yesterday's winner!Today it's Sidney Crosby reaching 800 assists vs. Bobby Ryan's hat trick. What's your choice? 🤔VOTE ������������

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