The Pittsburgh Penguins have experienced their fair share of ups and downs through the first 26 games. They've battled back from an early seven game losing streak to catapult themselves to a tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Leading the charge up the Rankings is Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. The timeless leader has been on fire lately, and he's putting himself on pace to have one of the best statistical seasons of his career.
Through 26 games, Crosby has found another level to his game. He leads the Pens with 15 goals and 35 points, and sits seventh in the league in total points. What makes his play especially deadly is how much of his scoring happens during even strength.
Crosby has only six points on the still Penguins' struggling power play, even with his man advantage tally against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The majority of his production, 13 goals and 29 points, has come via 5-on-5, meaning he doesn't need any advantage to score, just needs the puck.
Crosby's even strength production is first in the league, more than the likes of Erik Karlsson, Matthew Tkachuk, and even Connor McDavid.
If Sid the Kid can maintain this production, he will be staring down a 100+ point campaign for the first time since 2018-2019. Crosby is currently on pace for 47 goals and 110 points, which would be the second highest point total of his career. At age 35, Crosby would be reaching personal and league records if he can keep this play up.
According to the QuantHockey statistics, Crosby's projected season total of 110 points would be the second highest single season total for a player in their age 35 season. While Crosby would trail the all-time leader (Johnny Buyck, 116 points at age 35 in 1970-71), he would surpass the totals put up by Teemu Selanne, Mark Messier, and Mario Lemieux, who all failed to break the 100 point plateau at age 35. At the level Crosby is playing, there's no doubting he can reach or exceed the 100-point mark this season if he stays healthy.
The Penguins will continue to rely on the their captain as they continue their unlikely pursuit of another Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Crosby is playing some of the best hockey of his storied career this season, and his excellence in both playmaking and as a leader has his team contending again.
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