Now, a 29-year-old Crosby will put his focus on helping Pittsburgh become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in more than a decade, while a 31-year-old Ovechkin knows a second-round exit would be a wasted opportunity for a Caps team that had a spectacular regular season.
After a long, intense and overtime-filled series, the Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games to move on to the second round.
Pittsburgh looks like it could easily repeat this year, and I think the Penguins offense continues their dominance of the Capitals and takes home Game 1.
The Penguins enjoyed an early lead provided by Sidney Crosby but a pair of Russian Washington goals eventually deadlocked at game at two apiece.
Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) skates with the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3), of Finland, during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, T.
Washington is averaging 3.17 goals per game while allowing just 2.19.
"I hope the Capitals come out strong and get a win for their captain", freshman Mike DiVito said.
Malkin said in an interview today that he's used to being left out of the Crosby vs. Ovechkin narrative.
Justin Williams. The forward showed up big time in Round 1 with six points in six games. The Pens are averaging 3.44 goals per game, but allowing 2.78 on defense.
This isn't to say Ovechkin and Crosby aren't crucial parts of their team's lineups, because they are.
Nearly eight years after their "dueling hat tricks" game, Ovechkin answered Crosby with his fourth goal of the playoffs, but his team couldn't compensate for the Penguins captain's greatness. They were able to weather the storm against the Blue Jackets, so to speak, and get out of their rough starts either tied 0-0 or only down a goal.
The Metropolitan final features the playoffs' two most effective power plays, each converting five times in the opening round. The Capitals are deeper but the Penguins have Washington's number. "The ability for us to do that and get better at that is going to be huge, I think". Washington D Karl Alzner (upper body) missed his fifth consecutive game and is day-to day. As a result, Marc-Andre Fleury came in cold but still held the fort down. Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz are questionable but considerable possibilities.
The flip side of that, though, is that if the Penguins do swoon early, Washington has a heck of a lot more firepower to bury them than Columbus did.