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Did Sidney Crosby have his best ever NHL playoff game in Game 5?

Forget the noise about water bottles and P.K. Subban, and let's look at the fact Sidney Crosby had one of his most impressive playoff games ever in one of the most important games of the season for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby was the center of everything in Game 5. There was spats with P.K. Subban, maybe accidentally throwing a water bottle on the ice.

Oh yeah, and he was the first star and best skater on the ice for the Penguins 6-0 win over the Predators in a pivotal game after his 3 assists helped push Pittsburgh way out in front and to a series lead. That multi-point performance pushed Sid into a special club with only other members of the juggernaut Edmonton Oilers of the wide-open offensive days of the 1980's.

Looking back at the modern day, Sid was peerless in Game 5

Was it's Crosby's best playoff game ever? Just might have been given the importance.

Interestingly, as dom pointed out the closest bubble to this one was G6 last year against San Jose, the Stanley Cup clinching game where a very strong performance helped to win the Conn Smythe.

And, even though a subset of Pens fans hate talking about front-runners for the playoff MVP, it's fair to wonder at this point if Crosby has pushed himself to the top of that race. Even though there was some talk of maybe a joint Matt Murray + Marc-Andre Fleury sharing the award in an unprecedented action, I'm guessing at this point it's a two horse race if the Pens win. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Here's the current stat-sheet look:


Malkin has one more point than Crosby, but Sid does lead Geno in even strength points 18-16 (interestingly Jake Guentzel has 17 ES points and more goals than both star centers).

Obviously, you would think if Crosby, Malkin (or Jake!) got a hat trick in Game 6, that may be enough to tip the scales to them, especially with the recency effect considering the CS vote would be taken in the 3rd period if the Pens are up.

All in all, there's a case for any and all of the 3 and no need to tear one down. It would be plenty great if one wins it and even greater if that does happen on Sunday night.

If Crosby or Malkin does win the Conn Smythe they will join a most exclusive club. The award (first given out in 1965) has only been won twice by the following skaters: Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux. That's commonly considered the 3 best skaters in NHL history. Goalie Patrick Roy has won the most total Conn Smythe's with 3.

For Sid the finish line is near and one more great game very well could lift him into the company of the all-time greats. What a treat this playoff run has been to watch.