If we were covering the NHL scoring race like a television network covering a national election, it would almost be time to make a projection. Sidney Crosby is headed towards his second straight (and third career) Art Ross trophy as the NHL's leading scorer.
In a year with power play chances down, the 2014-15 leading scorer won't have an impressive amount of points- it'll be the least amount in any non-lockout year since expansion in 1967.
On top of that, there's not a lot of buzz in Pittsburgh, where the Art Ross is Old Hat. 4 Penguins (Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) have won the trophy 15 times since Lemieux first did in 1987-88. 15 in 26 seasons is an incredible accomplishment.
And it could have been even more. Crosby almost certainly would have won the scoring title in 2010-11 (when he scored 66 points in the first 41 games of the season before missing the rest of the year). He definitely would have won it in the 2013 lockout year had he not broken his jaw and missed the last 12 games (or 25%) of the season. We also never know what might have been for Crosby in 2011-12- a year Malkin won it- due to Crosby missing more time with injuries.
That's not how fate played out, so Crosby, the best point producing star of his generation, is "only" headed for his third scoring title. In fact, had Crosby not missed 5 games already this season, he probably would have the title on ice, being as he's got the best points/game rate of anyone.
John Tavares has had a terrific season, and had a 3 assist day yesterday, and could remain in the hunt. However, NYI has 5 games remaining. Crosby and the Pens have 6. Gotta like Sid's chances 2 points up and a game in hand. The rest of the pack is either too far or has fewer games left than the Pens too.
Crosby's season seemed to kick into gear over the past month or so- starting with a game in St. Louis on 2/25, Crosby has 6 goals and 15 assists in his last 17 games. Those aren't eye-popping numbers, but in the context of this low scoring season, they are. And that is magnified by Malkin and Patric Hornqvist being injured the past couple weeks and usual linemate/PP stalwart Chris Kunitz frozen in the middle of a massive goal-scoring drought that he finally escaped last night, thanks to a Crosby primary assist.
In the big picture, it's an individual award in a team sport, not a huge deal, but it's better that Crosby is peaking at the right time as the playoffs are about to begin. A third scoring title will mean more for his legacy years down the road, but for now, in the immediate scope of things, the Pens are just trying to get all the points they can out of their captain in order to set themselves up for a playoff run.