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Crosby Goes for Hat Trick at NHL Awards

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will go for the proverbial hat trick at Tuesday’s NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Crosby, 26, is looking to take home the Art Ross Trophy (scoring champion), Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (outstanding player as voted by the players). The three pieces of hardware are the most prestigious and coveted of any at the league’s annual event.

“It’s an honor,” Crosby said earlier this year upon being nominated for MVP. “To be recognized with that group of players and to know who’s won that trophy in the past, it’s definitely an honor.”

Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux were nominated alongside Crosby for the Hart and Ted Lindsay.

Crosby already has the Art Ross won after posting 104 points (36G-68A) in 80 regular-season games – a 17-point lead over second-place finisher Getzlaf. Crosby’s margin of victory is the largest since former Penguin Jaromir Jagr beat Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne by 20 points in 1998-99.

The feat also marked the second time in his career that Crosby won the league’s scoring title, helping the Penguins win the award for the 15th time in the past 26 years (Mario Lemieux, 6; Jagr, 5; Evgeni Malkin, 2; Crosby, 2).

Crosby was named the Penguins’ team MVP this season, and it’s pretty obvious to see why.

Crosby’s offensive dominance helped the Penguins win their second consecutive division title after posting a 51-24-7 record for 109 points, despite suffering an NHL-most 529 man-games lost due to injury. The 51 wins and 109 points both mark the second-highest totals in franchise history.

While the Penguins were suffering through the onslaught of injuries, Crosby was a constant force and was the crucial instrument in his team’s success this past season. He registered points in 60 of his 80 games played, including 30 multi-point games, and never went pointless for more than two consecutive games. The Penguins went 47-8-5 (.825 percent) when Crosby recorded at least one point and just 3-16-1 (.175 percent) when Crosby was held scoreless.

If Crosby does pull off the award hat trick, it would be the second time in his career he achieves the feat. Crosby also won the Art Ross, Hart and Ted Lindsay (then named the Lester B. Pearson Award) in 2006-07 – just his second season in the NHL. Crosby, then 19 years old, posted career highs with 84 assists and 120 points that year and became youngest player ever to win the scoring title and Ted Lindsay, while becoming the second-youngest to win the MVP (Wayne Gretzky).

Crosby’s dominance was also on display during last season’s abbreviated campaign. If it weren’t for a freak broken jaw injury suffered from a deflected puck that caused him to miss the final 12 games of the season, Crosby would likely have won all three awards. Crosby had a 10-point lead in the scoring race at the time of the injury and would have easily claimed the title. He was eventually overtaken in the final week by Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

Crosby still finished third (tied) in the league in scoring with 56 points despite missing a quarter of the year and was a nominee for the Hart and Ted Lindsay for his efforts. Crosby won the Ted Lindsay, the second of his career, while the Hart went to Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

And if Crosby does pull off the award trick on Tuesday, it would be the second time in the past three seasons that a Penguin has done so. In 2012 Malkin won all three coveted trophies after posting 109 points (50G-59A) following a successful return from offseason knee surgery.

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