Poster “Gaucho” on LGP pointed out a fun statistic to Penguins fans today.

Against Philadelphia and Washington, Crosby scored the first goal of the series and the last goal of the series.

In essence, he was the alpha and the omega. He dished out the first ounce of disappointment to opposing fans, and nailed the coffin shut at the end.

He also provided some good filling in the middle.

He’s clicking at 1.61 points per game. His 12 goals are just 7 shy of Jari Kurri’s 1985 record of 19. And the hot button topic in the city has been his refusal to lose. The look in Crosby’s demeanor has been one of vigor, determination, and a sense of finishing the unfinished.

The emergence of Sidney Crosby as a dominant post-season performer is happening right in front of our eyes.

In the community of the National Hockey League, media especially, the “Who is the best player in the NHL?” debate has become a flavor-of-the-week popularity contest.

This season saw a see-saw ride between several players in the top dog contest. So much so that I felt like I was watching kids campaign for student council votes.

“Please, that goal that Jonathan Toews scored was SO two weeks ago. Clearly Malkin is the best player right now.” Until next week, when it goes back to Ovechkin or Parise.

But something special happened this playoff year in the first two rounds. Sidney Crosby took your student council ballot box and burned it to the ground.

His performance, shift for shift, has been better than any player in the National Hockey League. His perennial rival, Alex Ovechkin, was sent home early courtesy of Sid himself. Sidney Crosby went blow for blow with the most dynamic goal scorer in the National Hockey League and didn’t miss a beat.

Who would have thought we’d see the day when Crosby was leading via his goal scoring?

Regardless, it’s in front of our very eyes. Crosby has been sneaking behind the defense, corralling the puck in the corners, scooping up rebounds and burying them in such a concise manner.

The buzz about the NHL heading into tonight’s Eastern Conference final is Eric Staal and Jordan Staal, Cam Ward, the resilient Hurricanes.

All the while, with a fire in his eyes, Sidney Crosby waits patiently for his next opponent. Even after this Conn Smythe worthy performance, the buzz rests elsewhere. Maybe the NHL-hype machine has forced the rest of the NHL and its fans to go into a Crosby-blackout.

That’s fine. But, despite that, the pertinent question in this series isn’t how the Penguins will solve Cam Ward. It’s how Cam Ward will solve the unit of Crosby, Kunitz and Guerin.

I’d encourage all of you to take a moment in Game 1 and just watch Crosby do his thing for a shift or two. It’s magic on the ice the likes of which we’ve not seen since the big man himself, dare I say it, lead these same Penguins to the promise land.

Not to get ahead of ourselves here. There’s still more work to be done. Crosby, for as great as he’s been, still has to continue to blaze his trail. He is only halfway finished.

That’s fine, though. As fans, we get to watch the best player in the NHL for at least a few more games.

I, for one, will enjoy every minute of it.