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Crosby surprised by Ovechkin’s struggles, sure he’ll bounce back

Feb 7, 2013, 6:06 PM EDT

ovechkincrosbyhandshake AP

Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby vs Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. That used to be the big rivalry in hockey, but it hasn’t been that way lately.

Ovechkin has just two goals and five points in 10 games this season and those struggles have been amplified by his disappointing — at least by the high standards he’s held to — 2011-12 campaign.

So going into the Penguins’ match against the Capitals Thursday night, is Crosby surprised by his adversaries recent misfortunes?

“Yeah, a little bit,” Crosby said in a CSN Washington report. “I’ve watched a couple games and I think he’s had his chances and the puck hasn’t gone in.

“Obviously, there’s always expectations and there’s a lot hype on him and there’s pressure that comes with that. But I think he’s still shooting the puck well, still creating some chances and still someone we definitely have to be aware of. I don’t look into [two goals] as a big problem for him.

“He’s going to generate chances and I’m sure eventually the points will come.”

Meanwhile, Crosby hasn’t had any problem living up to expectations this season. He’s tied for fourth place in the NHL with 14 points in 10 games. Which begs the question, given Ovechkin’s offensive decline in recent years, is he still on Crosby’s level?

“Well, if you look at the standings of course he’s way too up, I’m way too down,” Ovechkin said. “I just have to catch him.”

The Capitals are in the NHL’s basement with a 2-7-1 record. If they don’t start that comeback soon, then they’ll be out of this playoff race before it even heats up.

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