Crosby won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer with 44 goals in 75 games, edging Toronto's Auston Matthews and Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov, who both scored 40.
Crosby is the sixth player to win the Richard multiple times since the award was introduced in the 1998-99 season, but holds the record for the longest break between his two wins at seven years after winning his first in 2010 with 51 goals. Discounting the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, this is the first time in the cap era the winner of the Richard has scored fewer than 50 goals, which is perhaps more of a testament to how difficult it is to score in the NHL these days. In both of his Richard-winning seasons, Crosby had a shooting percentage of over 17 percent, nearly three points higher than his career average of 14.7 percent, which is an indication his efficiency may regress back to the norm. Regardless, Crosby is back at the top of the hockey world, capping off a season in which he won the World Cup and the Stanley Cup and was named MVP in both competitions.
The Penguins' captain didn't factor into the scoring in the team's Cup-clinching victory on enemy ice, but his 27 points in 24 games -- second in the postseason only to teammate Evgeni Malkin's 28 -- and whopping 19:23 of ice time were enough to lock in his second straight playoff MVP award. With three Stanley Cups, a pair of Olympic gold medals and a World Cup of Hockey championship to his name, Crosby arguably stands alone at this point as the best hockey player in the world. And he hasn't even had his 30th birthday yet.
Crosby dominated in Thursday's Game 5 win over Nashville, racking up three assists in a lopsided victory.
Crosby certainly came to play in Game 5 after scoring the team's lone goal in Game 4 on Monday. He dominated on an early shift and carried that determination and passion with him throughout the rest of the night. Crosby now has points in three straight games and has surpassed Mario Lemieux as the Penguins' all-time points leader in the Stanley Cup Finals (20). With Pittsburgh one win away from the Stanley Cup, Crosby has once again turned in another performance worthy of the Conn Smythe.
Crosby was all alone on a breakaway and fooled Pekka Rinne, sneaking one past him for goal No. 8 of these playoffs. However, the Finnish netminder exacted revenge by stopping Crosby blocker side twice in a row on another breakaway early in the second period. With the series suddenly knotted at two games apiece, the Penguins will look for better results at home Thursday in Game 5.
Crosby collected two first-period assists -- one on the power play -- during Monday's Game 1 win over Nashville.
Crosby is up to seven goals and 22 points through 19 playoff games, and he's making a case for his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy. The Pittsburgh captain also registered three of the Penguins' 11 shots, and No. 87 will need to continue frequenting the scoresheet if he's going to hoist the Stanley Cup for a third time.