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March 20, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
After scoring a mere three goals in his first 14 games, Sidney Crosby has erupted for 10 in his last nine, giving him a team-leading 13 on the young season. He’s been on a ridiculous tear the past three games, ripping home six goals on 16 shots. Of course, Sid still needs to curve his stick, but as long as he’s lighting the lamp, I’ll let that dead horse go unbeaten.
In Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday, Crosby recorded just the second hat trick of his career, capping it off with a diving, one-handed empty-netter that highlighted his freakish speed and uncommon tenacity. It came only three days after Evgeni Malkin hung a natural hat trick on the Islanders.
Sid and Geno are topping each other every shift. They’re kind of like the dueling banjo players in “Deliverance,” except without all the inbreeding. They’ve combined for nine goals and 17 points the past three games. Malkin leads the NHL in scoring with 39 points, while Kid Crosby now sits alone in second with 34.
Sid’s averaging 3.78 shots per game, up from his 3.29 career mark, and he’s recorded five or more shots in six of his past nine contests. Straight blade or not, that sort of production will lead to goals. And if Sid’s putting pucks in the net, it’s going to be damn near impossible for anyone, including Malkin, to outscore him.
If Crosby and Malkin do finish one-two in scoring, it will be nothing new for the Penguins. Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were the last NHL teammates to top the charts. They did it in 1995-96, with Lemieux totaling 161 points to Jagr’s 149. Ron Francis gave the Pens three of the top four that season, ringing up 119 points to finish one behind Joe Sakic for third place.
In 1991-92, Lemieux (131) and Kevin Stevens (123) ranked one and two, with Mario needing only 64 games to capture the Art Ross.
Teammates finishing first and second in scoring has happened 32 times in NHL history. The Montreal Canadiens have done it a record seven times, the last coming in 1960-61 courtesy of Bernie Geoffrion (95) and Jean Beliveau (90).
The Boston Bruins are next with six one-two scoring finishes. Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr dominated the scoring race five times, with Espo taking three titles. In 1973-74, the Bruins were particularly dominant, boasting the top four scorers in Esposito (145), Orr (122), Ken Hodge (105), and Wayne Cashman (89). But even that paled in comparison to what the Bears did three years earlier.
In 1970-71, the Bruins not only had the top four point scorers in Esposito (152), Orr (139), John Bucyk (116), and Hodge (105), Cashman finished seventh (79), John McKenzie finished eighth (77), and Fred Stanfield tied for ninth (76).
The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings have each owned the top two scorers four times. Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull accounted for three of Chicago’s crowns, with Mikita leading the way twice. Roy Conacher (68) and Doug Bentley (66) were the first Hawks to accomplish the feat in 1948-49.
The Production Line generated all of Detroit’s success. Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay were one-two on three occasions, while Lindsay (78), Sid Abel (69), and Howe (68) filled the top three spots in 1949-50.
The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have turned the trick three times. Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri ranked first and second in 1984-85 and again in 1986-87. Gretzky and Paul Coffey did the honors in 1983-84.
All three of Toronto’s dynamic duos did their damage in the 1930s. Gordie Dillon (52) and Syl Apps (50) were the most recent, finishing one-two in 1937-38. Busher Jackson (53) and Joe Primeau (50) did it in 1931-32. Primeau (46) finished second to Charlie Conacher (52) in 1933-34.
The Ottawa Senators have had the top two scorers twice, but both instances came during the franchise’s first incarnation. Punch Broadbent (46) and Cy Denneny (39) were tops in 1921-22. Then Denneny led the league with 24 points on 22 goals in 1923-24, finishing one point ahead of fellow Senator Georges Boucher.
In 1941-42, the New York Rangers posted their lone daily double thanks to Bryan Hextall (56) and Lynn Patrick (54).
MOST POINTS BY LEAGUE-LEADING TEAMMATES