Sidney Crosby’s overtime winner against Edmonton last night might have been his best goal ever.
But there are a lot of factors to consider, including the open ice and opportunity offered by three-on-three hockey. Crosby was able to isolate the Oilers’ Ryan Strome 1-on-1; Strome is a forward, and didn’t have a chance. Nor did goalie Cam Talbot.
Nobody but Crosby (and maybe Toronto’s Auston Matthews) could score that goal. Matthews would have a chance because, like Crosby, he can stickhandle in a phone booth. The Oilers’ Connor McDavid has speed, but not quite that kind of craft.
Crosby doesn’t score signature goals like Mario Lemieux did.
Lemieux’s spectacular goals come immediately to mind, like splitting the defense against Minnesota in the 1991 Stanley Cup Final, or carrying a Quebec defenseman on his back from the blue line in.
Crosby colors inside the lines, so his production can be more conventional. That doesn’t make him any less the master of big moments.
We don’t have to think back too far to come up with Crosby’s best goal prior to last night. I’d go with March 21, 2017 at Buffalo: Crosby skates the length of the rink, splits all four Sabres, and fires a one-handed backhand into the net. Not just an amazing goal, but a reminder of Crosby’s incredible dominance on the backhand.
I’m not sure Crosby scoring that goal last night reaffirms his status as hockey’s best, although I do believe him to be so. But if he wasn’t hockey’s best before that goal, he isn’t now.
McDavid was great last night, too: A goal and assist, and he was everywhere. McDavid is so fast, he can do a give-and-go with himself.