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Sidney Crosby scores 500th NHL goal against perfect opponent

Sidney Crosby scored the 500th goal of his career against the Flyers, an opponent so perfect that it almost all feels planned. Fittingly, it’s also the 50th goal Sidney Crosby scored against the Flyers.

To make things that much better, Crosby scored goal 500 with an assist from Evgeni Malkin. Watch Crosby’s 500th career goal in the video above this post’s headline.

More on Crosby reaching 500 goals scored at the NHL level

Crosby reached that 500-goal mark in his 1,077th career regular-season game. By adding an assist in a Penguins OT win, Crosby ended the night with 1,371 points.

Crosby is the 46th player in NHL history to reach the 500 goal mark, and only the second active player to have eclipsed it, joining Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

Patrick Marleau has also scored more than 500 goals and has not technically retired, but he is not active in the NHL this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, 459 career goals, is the next closest to the milestone.

Mario Lemieux congratulated Crosby after he reached 500 goals:

A “What if?” question or two

It is obviously a big milestone for Crosby, but anytime he reaches one of these milestones you can not help but wonder about all of the “what ifs” throughout his career. Had Crosby not missed a significant portion of his prime years, when he was playing by far the best hockey of his career and putting video game numbers on the board, he would have eclipsed the 500-goal mark long ago and would probably be over the 600-goal mark at this point in his career, well on his way to 700 and beyond for his career.

During his peak years between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons (his age 23-25 seasons) he played in just 99 regular season games, barely more than one full season, due to head/neck injuries and a lockout. During those 99 games he was scoring goals at a 46-goal pace per 82 games. It is not a stretch to imagine he missed out on around 100 goals due to all of those missed games. That does not even take into account the other major injuries (2007-08) and shortened seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21).

While Crosby has always been known for his playmaking and all-around game, his goal scoring has been elite throughout his career. Throughout his career he has averaged nearly a 40-goal pace (38 goals to be exact) per 82 games, has won two goal scoring crowns (2009-10 and 2016-17) and led the league in goals per game in a third season (2010-11).

Crosby is the fourth different player to score his 500th goal as a member of the Penguins, joining Mario Lemieux, Joe Mullen, and Mark Recchi. (Jaromir Jagr’s 500th career goal came as a member of the Washington Capitals). Crosby’s teammate, Evgeni Malkin, currently has 429 goals and is still 71 away from reaching that milestone.