*** Update *** – The puck went off Bill Guerin’s pants, so he got credit for the goal. Crosby is still stuck at #49.

If you had told me even at the beginning of this year that Sidney Crosby would be the first player in the NHL to reach the 50 goal plateau this season, and would be leading the race for the Rocket Richard trophy with less than a week left in the regular season I would have said you were crazy.

Throughout his NHL career Crosby has been known as a pure passer, much in the same vein as Joe Thornton is with the San Jose Sharks. Crosby possesses incredible on-ice vision that have had many comparing him with Wayne Gretzky since he broke into the league in 2005. If there was a knock on this young phenom’s game it was directed at his scoring ability. I think it is safe to say that Crosby has answered his critics and then some.

In the off-season Sidney Crosby completely reinvented his game, working hard to improve his shooting as well as his face-off play. That decision has certainly paid big dividends as Crosby has been among the league leaders in face-off percentage and goal scoring all season long.

If Crosby hangs on and manages to capture the Rocket Richard trophy it will also certainly earn him some votes in the biggest NHL individual hardware race of them all – for the Hart Trophy.

However, it is certainly premature to declare Sidney Crosby the goal-scoring champion, even though though the curtain closes on the NHL regular season in just 3 days. A couple of guys by the name of Steven Stamkos and Alexander Ovechkin will have a thing or two to say about the goal-scoring race before all is said and done. Both currently sit just two goals back of Crosby, with 48 apiece. Both are prolific scorer who can score in bunches so Crosby’s lead is anything but safe. You can bet Ovechkin in particular will be gunning to catch and beat Crosby. The two have been playing a game of oneupmanship ever since they entered the league as rookies together in 2005.

If Crosby can manage to hang on and win this award, it will further cement his status as one of the game’s all-time greats – pretty heady stuff for a guy who is only 22 years old.

Video of Sidney Crosby’s 50th goal of the season and 500th career point: