Fighting out of the blue corner, the visitor, hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Penguins led by center Sidney Crosby. Fighting out of the red corner, the home team, from Washington D.C., the Washington Capitals, led by left winger Alex Ovechkin
The Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry adds another chapter tonight in the Verizon Center. These two have been two of the top-three players in the league since debuting over a decade ago.
The question since their debuts is which one is better. You can make a case for either players, who play two different positions, Crosby a center and Ovechkin a left winger. Both came into the league as No. 1 overall picks, Ovechkin in 2004 and Crosby in 2005. The two debuted on the same night as the 2004-2005 season was cancelled due to a league lockout. Whether the comparisons are fair or not, they will always be brought up with these two, and for the NHL, that’s a great thing.
Crosby enters Tuesday’s contest with 327 goals, 585 assists in 687 career games. Ovechkin has 515 goals with 438 assists in 819 career games. Had Crosby not have had injuries that nearly cost him his career, he might have more career points than Ovie. On the season, Crosby has found the back of the net 25 times this season and has dished out 34 assists. Ovechkin is right behind him in points, scoring 40 goals and 18 assists.
Ovechkin hold an edge over Crosby in individual accolades. Ovie has won the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year), three Hart Memorial Trophies (League MVP), and three Ted Lindsay Awards (most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA). Crosby has quite the trophy collection himself, winning two Art Ross Trophies, two Harts and three Lindsays. The only thing accolade Crosby has that Ovechkin doesn’t is a Stanley Cup, which he helped the Penguins win in 2009 against the Detroit Red Wings. In the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Pens took out the Caps, but not before an epic showdown between the two future Hall of Famers, as each scored a hat trick, with Ovechkin and company coming up victorious.
In head-to-head matchups, Crosby has more points 51-38.
Washington enters Tuesdays contest coming off a 3-2 loss on Sunday to the Chicago Blackhawks, but are still well ahead in the Eastern Conference with a 45-12-4 record and 94 points, most in the NHL. The Penguins come into the contest on a second of back-to-back games after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 6-0 Monday night.
The two teams have split the two games played earlier this season, with each team winning on the other’s home ice. In an October 28 matchup, the Pens defeated the Caps 3-1 and right winger Phil Kessel scored the eventual game-winner in the third period. Washington would exact revenge on December 14 in Pittsburgh with a 4-1 victory, led by TJ Oshie’s two goals and an assist. Neither superstar was a factor in either game, as neither scored a single point.
The game on tonight is a makeup game from January 24 after a snowstorm cancelled everything in D.C.
The Capitals are sitting comfortably atop the Eastern Conference standings, while the Penguins are finally starting to find their groove. Pittsburgh didn’t get off to the best of starts, but have picked it up lately, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Washington is 7-3-0 in their last 10. Pittsburgh currently holds the second wild card spot in the East, trailing the Boston Bruins by two points for the first wild card spot and trail the New York Islanders by a single point and the New York Rangers by eight points in the Metropolitan Division.
Whenever Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin take the ice against one another, the NHL and the fans are in for a treat. The two have a heated rivalry where each wants to do better than the other, but both have a ton of respect for the other.