Scoring race still in doubt entering final day of regular season


The last time an NHL player won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s scoring leader with less than 90 points (not counting lockout seasons) was back in 1967-68 when Stan Mikita tallied 87 points on the season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Even then, the league only played 74 games then, so it’s highly likely that Mikita would have broken 90 had there been an 82-game season.

This season, three players are currently vying for the league scoring title entering the last day of the season—where all 30 NHL teams are in action—and it looks like none of those players will break the 90-point mark.

John Tavares and Sidney Crosby currently share the lead with 84 points apiece. Tavares, a former first overall draft pick, has slowly but quietly established himself as one of the NHL’s elite talents. At only 24-years-old, this has been a career year for Tavares in goals (37) and points. Since joining the league in 2009-10, the Islanders have utilized Tavares as a cornerstone of their organization and built a contending team around him.

Crosby, the defending Art Ross Trophy winner, has a chance to capture the award again today—and help his team clinch a playoff spot—when they take on the Buffalo Sabres. Crosby has won the trophy twice in his career, once scoring 120 points and last year notching 104. Where Tavares has played in every game this season for the Islanders, Crosby has missed time due to injury and will skate in his 77th game tonight. It’s not unfathomable to think that Crosby could have posted 90+ points had he played a full 82-game season. However, the bigger concern for Crosby right now is likely getting his team into the postseason for the ninth consecutive year. The only time Crosby has failed to make the playoffs with the Penguins was in his rookie year in 2005-06.

Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn also finds himself in the running for the scoring title with 83 points on the season. Benn has already posted career high numbers with 51 assists and 83 points. His current goal total of 32 is two off from his 34 tallies last season. Over the last two seasons, Benn has emerged as a solid scoring winger and a great complement to the team’s other offensive talents Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. While the Stars will miss the playoffs this season, the emergence of Benn and Seguin, combined with Spezza, provides Dallas fans plenty to look forward to and gives the organization a strong group of core players to build around.

Jakub Voracek, who has had an amazing breakout season, and Alexander Ovechkin round out the top five scoring leaders with 81 and 80 points respectively. Ovechkin has more than wrapped up the Rockey Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer. He currently has 52 goals on the season—nine more than Steven Stamkos, who is second in goal scoring with 43.

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