Feb 3, 2013, 6:30 AM EDT
The National Hockey League lockout is a distant memory. Easy to forget when the Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Washington Capitals Sunday – also the first meeting of this young season between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin
Crosby, 25, and Ovechkin, 27, emerged as the rookie stars everyone expected and hoped for following the 2004-05 lockout.
Long has the debate been which of the two superstars would you rather have on your team, and why?
Naturally, this ignited a rivalry between the two players which is always front and center when these two teams meet.
The Capitals have struggled under new head coach Adam Oates. They are just 2-5-1, and 14th in the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps this is the game the Capitals need to get back to their previous regular season form, which helped them collect four consecutive Southeast Division banners prior to 2012.
“Pittsburgh — you can’t help but get up for that game. It seems like the whole city gets excited when you play Pittsburgh,” Jason Chimera told the Washington Post. “If you don’t get up for these games there’s something wrong.”
The Capital that has struggled the most early on is the aforementioned Ovechkin.
He has just two goals and three points in eight games, while his fellow countryman and last year’s Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin is up to 10 points – the same as Crosby.
“He has pure goal-scoring ability, but his passing ability is also phenomenal,” Penguins forward James Neal told NHL.com.
“The ability to go around defenders and hit a guy [with a pass] that you don’t think he can see is something I found out pretty quick playing with him.”
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- Marchand on Plekanec: ‘I hate him. I can’t stand him’ 32
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 15
- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 16
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 30
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 43
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 12
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 63
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (43)
- New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now) (42)
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal (39)