Source: DAVE SANDFORD / GETTY IMAGES
What’s old is new again, as the Penguins and the Capitals meet up in the playoffs for the 3rd straight year and 4th time during the Crosby-Ovechkin era. Even though the Penguin’s have beaten the Capitals in all three of their previous meetings it doesn’t get old to watch. It’s been one of the most anticipated match-ups every time the two teams lock up, as two of their series have ended up going to a game seven. With both of the former number one picks battling and putting everything on the line in every game they play. Both players have had individual success against each others teams in terms of playoff stats. Ovechkin has 26 points with 12 goals against the Penguins in the playoffs. While Crosby has 22 points in 19 playoff games against Ovi's Capitals. Also, who can forget the memorable duelling hat-tricks between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin in 2009. This rivalry has been exciting to watch, although it’s been a little one sided in favour of Crosby and the Penguins.
Alex Ovechkin is still the best goal scorer in the NHL. With 49 goals this season the Russian sniper won his sixth Maurice Rocket Richard trophy. He’s 32 years old but has shown no signs of slowing down. Ovechkin has won many individual trophies, including an Art Ross Trophy and a Calder Trophy for best rookie, beating out Crosby in their rookie season. The Washington Captain have been behind Sidney Crosby in terms of championships though. Crosby has three Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals, while Ovechkin hasn’t come close the cup, having only gone as far as the second round The two also faced off in the world juniors with Crosby having the edge over Ovi. The Capitals have been one of the best teams in the regular season under Ovechkin, but come playoff time a lot of people would call it “choking” time. The Capitals have won three President’s trophies, but they’ve lost to the Pens in two of the those seasons, both of which were in the semi finals. Washington has lost 9 of the 10 playoff series against the Penguins with their only win coming in 1994. Ovechkin has had a strong playoff showing so far this year, posting 8 points in 6 games, including 2 goals in the game six clincher against the Blue Jackets.
Sidney Crosby has been the face of the NHL for over a decade. The “older Kid” is one of the most dynamic players in the league. Crosby has won the Hart Trophy twice as the league’s MVP while also being the all time franchise leader in playoff points for the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s a franchise that’s had Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. Pretty impressive right? Crosby has beaten Ovechkin in every level from juniors to the pros. Crosby has been a proven winner and has stepped up when his team needed him. Winning the Conn Smythe twice, as the MVP of the playoffs, both years at the expense of the Washington Capitals. With 4 Stanley Cup appearances Crosby knows how to help his team go far and win championships. Crosby joins only number 4 Bobby Orr and the Great One, no not the Rock but the original Great One, Wayne Gretzky as the only players two win the Conn Smythe, League MVP and World Cup/Canada cup MVP. Talk about being clutch. Crosby has been on fire during these playoffs, as he is currently tied with teammate Jake Guentzel for playoff points with 13 and in goals with 6.
With the two teams meeting on Saturday so many questions will be asked. Can Ovechkin and the Caps finally beat Sidney Crosby in the playoffs and advance to the conference finals for the first time in his career? Or will Sidney Crosby and the Pens have the last laugh and continue their quest for a three peat. Who knows, maybe we’ll see duelling hat-tricks again between the two superstars. Whatever it is, sit down and enjoy another crazy, intense playoff series. Crosby vs Ovechkin: Part 4. Does it get any better than this? Err.. The Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup is actually the best, but with them being eliminated, this is a good consolation prize.