With his two goals against the Dallas Stars (including the game winner, if it matters to you), Crosby surpassed Ovechkin for the league lead – 44 to 42 – heading down the stretch.
Both teams have 17 games remaining, so it really is anyone's game at this point, a game that also features the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos (40), the San Jose Sharks's Patrick Marleau (39), and the New York Rangers's resident lone ranger Marian Gaborik (35), although that last one is clearly falling off the pace a little bit.
This is not a debate on who will win the scoring race. I mean, clearly, it will be darkhorse Chris Stewart of the Colorado Avalanche, who has been piling them on in a flurry lately. Whoever it is, most have to admit that Ovechkin, who has played seven fewer games than Crosby (57 to 64), has the higher goal-per-game average (0.74 to 0.69), so the one known for playing the game on the edge clearly has some sort of edge himself in this race.
For those curious enough, 17 multiplied by 0.74 yields 13 (rounded up) more goals, for a projected total of 55. Meanwhile, 0.69 multiplied by 17? Twelve more (again rounded up) Crosby scores to hopefully reach 56. All this means, however, is that it's going to be close, but you already knew that.
That being said, while Ovechkin has won more Hart Memorial Trophies, the last two awarded in fact, Crosby won the one awarded just prior to Ovechkin's reign. He's also one year younger, so factor in that little tidbit in however you like.
The truth is that Ovechkin arguably only won last year's most-valuable-player trophy because he scored more goals than the Pittsburgh Penguins's Evgeni Malkin, who ended up with more points and the regular-season-scoring title (113 points to 110; 35 goals to 56). Take away that lead in goals, and do you still award the Hart to Ovechkin for a third-straight year?
No one is saying that the season ends today, but it is oddly funny that Ovechkin is in the same place Malkin, Crosby's teammate, was in last year, with the league lead in points (90 right now), but not where it has started to really matter, in goals.
Currently, Ovechkin is mired in a well-documented six-game scoring slump, but that doesn't mean all that much, considering the last time he scored, ironically against Pittsburgh on February 7, he notched a hat trick.
Still, Crosby, whose legend continues to grow after scoring the gold-medal-winning goal against the United States of America for Canada at the Olympics last week, has never led the league in goals. The 44 he has scored so far mark a career high, eclipsing his last high of 39 in his rookie season. He really is adding another dimension to his game as his critics speak. Should he actually pull this one out, he may silence them altogether.
So, bottom line: Who's better? Just because there are questions abound surrounding the issue, it doesn't mean that there's an answer… a total cop-out, it's true, but I honestly don't know. I don't think anybody who's being honest with themselves knows either. And we can't really ask them, because being politically-correct cliche-driven hockey players, they'd each say the other or just shy away from the question altogether (actually, Ovechkin may say he is, but you can't really trust that crooked, toothless smile of his, now can you?).
In any case it really doesn't matter. Only one may be "great", but they're both awesome. Let's leave it at that.