Pittsburgh fans witnessed history on Thursday night as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby accomplished another historic feat in becoming the third youngest player in NHL history to reach the 500 career point mark.
This 22 year-old pulled off the feat during a 7-3 win against the New York Islanders at what was the final regular season game to be played at Mellon Arena.
Crosby was the story in this one as he scored his 49th goal of the season and added three assists. Prior to the game there was a ceremony involving 50 former players, coaches and managers who came out to center ice.
It was obvious that Pittsburgh who are tied with the New Jersey Devils atop the Atlantic Division with 99 points were psyched after this presentation as blue liner Brooks Orpik scored only 23 seconds into play.
Still the night belonged to Crosby who took a one goal lead over his rival from the Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
“He kind of lives up to the moment, it seems like all the time,” Orpik said in reference to Crosby getting the four points in this final game at the Mellon Arena. “It was just one of those nights where it seemed like he had that extra jump and he was going.”
Also scoring for the Penguins were Alex Goligoski, Bill Guerin with two, Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin.
With 104 points on the season and 501 for his career Crosby was his typical modest self when told that the only players to reach that plateau at a younger age were Wayne Gretzky (21 years and 52 days) and current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux (22 years and 172 days).
“It’s one of those numbers,” Crosby said. “It’s a nice accomplishment. You don’t think about those things a lot.”
It was a special night not only because of the valuable two points but also for the current Penguins to talk and hear stories from the former players who had great memories of Mellon Arena.
“A lot of them (former players) were so excited to be here, it’s kind of an excited family,” Crosby said. “We’ve all played for this team to share this night together and get a big win like we did, that’s special, that’s the way you want to remember it.”