It took nearly a month to pass Sidney Crosby in the points race

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Somebody finally caught Sidney Crosby in the NHL's scoring race. (USATSI)
Somebody finally caught Sidney Crosby in the NHL's scoring race. (USATSI)

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Here's how dominant Sidney Crosby was this season before suffering a broken jaw last month in a game against the New York Islanders: It took nearly a month (25 days) without him playing a game for another player to finally catch and then pass him in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

On Wednesday, two players were able to do it when Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos matched him.

St. Louis tied Crosby when he scored a goal late in the second period and then passed him to take over the scoring lead by adding two more goals in the third period. Stamkos tied Crosby (and technically moved ahead of him due to the goal tiebreaker) by scoring a goal of his own (on a nifty backhand) and assisting on a Radko Gudas power-play goal in the third period.

A couple of interesting points here, other than the fact (and this is worth repeating) Crosby held onto the scoring lead despite not playing a game for nearly an entire month:

Both St. Louis and Stamkos play for a team that is not only not going to the playoffs, but is also one of the worst teams in the NHL. That speaks volumes as to how bad the rest of the team has been, particularly when it comes to its defense and goaltending (and also its lack of depth).

If St. Louis manages to win the scoring title he would be the oldest player, 37, to ever win it in NHL history. The oldest player as of this moment was Bill Cook, who won it at the age of 36 during the 1932-33 season as a member of the New York Rangers.

Only 14 players in NHL history have led the league in scoring while being age 30 or older, and since 1960 it's happened just six times, most recently by Daniel Sedin (30 in 2010-11).

Of course, had Crosby not been injured we're not having this discussion as he was having the most prolific offensive season in his career, averaging 1.56 points per game. How impressive is that number? The difference between Crosby and St. Louis, the No. 2 player in points per game this season, is as large as the gap (.34 PPG) between St. Louis and the No. 34 player (Daniel Sedin) in points per game.

That's pretty amazing.

Even if St. Louis doesn't win the scoring title, he is still having one of the best seasons in NHL history for a player his age. Only three players have averaged more points per game than St. Louis' 1.22 in a season past their 37th birthday: Gordie Howe (age 40) in 1968-69, Mario Lemieux (37) in 2002-03, and Joe Sakic (37) in 2006-07.

 
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