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Crosby vs. Ovechkin -- Head to Head

Tuesday, 05.05.2009 / 3:11 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By NHL.com Staff

The rivalry started six weeks after each played in his first NHL game. On Saturday, after four regular seasons and 15 games, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will square off for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Whether they like each other or not--hint: they don't--or whether they can see their careers in parallel to NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (Crosby concedes the point), Sid and Ovie will be the two most-uttered names across the hockey world in the next two week. And it says here that name-dropping will be happening in the entire sports world as well, thanks to a Pittsburgh-Washington Eastern Conference semifinal that revs up in Washington this weekend.

Since Crosby and Ovechkin blazed into the league together during a great Calder Trophy race in 2005-06, NHL fans have envisioned what a playoff series involving the two would be like. For some hard-hitting clues, here is a detailed look at the games in which they have faced off over the last four years (Courtesy of www.penguins.nhl.com):

2005-06 Season
Penguins 5, Capitals 4 | Nov. 22, 2005 | Matchup #1
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 1 1 4 +1 25:17 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 1 1 2 4 +1 19:16 Video
Playing before a standing room-only crowd of 16,978, energized by the first matchup of arguably the NHL's two most anticipated rookies since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, Crosby didn't disappoint -- even if his team nearly did, almost squandering a 4-0 lead.

Ovechkin was limited to an assist on Matt Pettinger's goal in the third period, but repeatedly flashed the skills that had allowed him to score 15 goals in 21 games -- a remarkable pace for a rookie.

Crosby led NHL rookies with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 22 games and was on a pace to match Lemieux's 100-point rookie season in 1984-85, while Ovechkin had 22 points (15 goals, seven assists) in 21 games.

Three star selections:
1st:  Sidney Crosby
2nd: Ziggy Palffy
3rd:  Alex Ovechkin
Winning Goaltender:
Sebastien Caron

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig


Penguins 8, Capitals 1Jan. 25, 2006 | Matchup #2
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin  1 0  1  5 E 23:26 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby  1 3  4  7  +2 18:13 Video
When Mario Lemieux retired earlier that week, he remarked how the NHL was in good shape with so many talented young players.

On a night billed as a showdown between top rookies Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, 37-year-old Mark Recchi and 36-year-old John LeClair each had two goals to lead the Penguins to a 8-1 win over the Washington Capitals.

Ovechkin also was at the center of a mini-controversy. Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney received a spearing major and a game misconduct as time expired in the second period for shoving his stick into what appeared to be Ovechkin's midsection.

Three star selections:
1st:  Sidney Crosby
2nd: John LeClair
3rd:  Mark Recchi
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig


Penguins 6, Capitals 3 | Feb. 11, 2006 | Matchup #3
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 0 1 8 E 23:31 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 1 1 2 5 E 19:40 Video
In a showdown between the NHL's rookie scoring leaders, Crosby moved within four points of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 36th goal and extended his franchise rookie record with his 69th point of the season.

"It's always been like that," Crosby said of squaring off against Ovechkin. "You always try with that extra little bit of motivation when you're getting comparisons and things like that. You just try to use the energy from the game to utilize that in your play. But by no means is it something you mark on the schedule or anything like that."

John LeClair, Sergei Gonchar, Colby Armstrong, Mark Recchi and Eric Boguniecki also scored for the Penguins, winners of consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 31, 2005. Gonchar and Recchi added two assists apiece.

Three star selections:
1st:  Sergei Gonchar
2nd: Marc-Andre Fleury
3rd:  Mark Recchi
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig
Getty Images


Capitals 6, Penguins 3 | Mar. 8, 2006 | Matchup #4
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 2 3 10 +1 22:10 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 1 1 2 E 23:08 Video
There was only one thing left for Alex Ovechkin to do to firmly stake his claim as the NHL's top rookie. He needed to beat Sidney Crosby head-to-head.

In the fourth and final meeting between the NHL's next-generation stars, Ovechkin finally got the better of his rival. The 20-year-old Russian scored his 42nd goal and added two assists in the Washington Capitals' 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Crosby did not score a goal and had one assist, leaving Ovechkin 10 points ahead in the rookie scoring race. Pittsburgh outscored Washington 19-8 in the first three meetings with Crosby having the better numbers each time, but Ovechkin's better overall season made him the odds-on favorite to win the Calder Trophy.

Three star selections:
1st:  Alex Ovechkin
2nd: Bryan Muir
3rd:  Ben Clymer
Winning Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig

Losing Goaltender:
Sebastien Caron
Getty Images



2006-07 Season
Penguins 5, Capitals 4, SODec. 11, 2006 | Matchup #5
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 2 2 7 +2 26:02 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby  1  1 2 3 +2 19:53 Video
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby set the stage, but Evgeni Malkin made the difference. The ballyhooed matchup of last season's top two rookies lived up to the hype, but Malkin -- this year's leading rookie -- was the star.

He scored a goal and assisted on one by Crosby in regulation, then scored the decisive tally in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins erased a four-goal deficit and beat Ovechkin's Washington Capitals 5-4.

Ovechkin had the Capitals' only goal in the shootout against Penguins' youngster Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside Mike Green and Chris Clark after making 29 saves through overtime.

Three star selections:
1st:  Evgeni Malkin
2nd: Chris Clark
3rd:  Alex Ovechkin
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig


Penguins 2, Capitals 0Feb. 3, 2007 | Matchup #6
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 0 0 3 -2 24:01 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 0 0 2 E 18:46 Video
Sidney Crosby's linescore had all zeroes, and that usually means a loss for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's strong play against Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals meant it didn't.

Scoring stars Crosby and Ovechkin were shut out in an unexpected defensive duel, with Pittsburgh's Ronald Petrovicky scoring the pivotal goal and Fleury making 30 saves as the Penguins won a season-high sixth in a row by beating Washington 2-0.

The Penguins had been 0-30-1 when Crosby didn't score in his two-year NHL career, but Fleury turned in his second shutout in three games and fourth of the season.

Three star selections:
1st:  Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd: Ronald Petrovicky
3rd:  Ryan Malone
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig


Penguins 3, Capitals 2Feb. 18, 2007 | Matchup #7
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 0 0 5 -1 19:44 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 1 1 4 E 18:46 Video
Alex Ovechkin didn't do much offensively, a commonplace event lately. Instead, it was the runner-up Russian who created a goal out of nothing, keeping the Pittsburgh Penguins' most successful stretch in 14 years going.

Evgeni Malkin scored a bad-angle goal to give Pittsburgh the lead in another tightly played game against Washington and the streaking Penguins won their sixth in a row, beating the Capitals 3-2.

The Pens had gained at least a point in 16 consecutive games, going 14-0-2 -- their longest run since they won a league-record 17 in a row and tied one to end the 1992-93 season. The surprise was that NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, who had 91 points, was slumping with only one goal in 10 games.

Three star selections:
1st:  Evgeni Malkin
2nd: Sergei Gonchar
3rd:  Alexander Semin
Winning Goaltender:
Jocelyn Thibault

Losing Goaltender:
Brent Johnson


Penguins 4, Capitals 3Mar. 27, 2007 | Matchup #8
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 1 1 4 +2 23:31 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 1  1 2 6 -1 21:28 Video
The Penguins' 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on  guaranteed postseason action for the once-beleaguered franchise.

Ryan Whitney scored the second and fourth Penguins goals, but it was Sidney Crosby's second-period goal past a stickless Olaf Kolzig that was the most memorable.

Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 113 points, took the puck behind the net and tipped it past the sprawling Kolzig to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead at 6:21 of the second period. Moments before, the Penguins' Gary Roberts slammed into Washington's goalie causing Kolzig's stick to sputter out of his hand and settle to the right side of the goal.

Three star selections:
1st:  Ryan Whitney
2nd: Evgeni Malkin
3rd:  Sidney Crosby
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig



2007-08 Season
Penguins 2, Capitals 1 | Oct. 20, 2007 | Matchup #9
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 0 0 8 E 22:09 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 1 1 2 E 17:29 Video
Sidney Crosby set up the go-ahead goal on a power play, Alex Ovechkin was held without a point for the first time this season, and Pittsburgh beat Washington 2-1. Crosby's Penguins won for the eighth time in nine games against Ovechkin's Capitals since they entered the league.

Ovechkin checked Crosby early in the third period, setting off a chain reaction of hits that nearly led to a brawl involving other players.

"That was a good hit," Crosby said. "He's a strong guy. He plays a complete game. I don't expect him to take it easy against anybody -- especially me."

Three star selections:
1st:  Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd: Ryan Whitney
3rd:  Brian Pothier
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Brent Johnson
Getty Images


Penguins 4, Capitals 3, OTDec. 27, 2007 | Matchup #10
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 0 1 2 +2 16:55 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 2 2 5 +1 24:43 Video
One excellent play by Sidney Crosby allowed Sergei Gonchar to make up for the kind of couldn't-get-much-worse night any NHL defenseman dreads.

Gonchar withstood two misplays that led to Washington goals by scoring in overtime after Darryl Sydor had tied it late in the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Capitals 4-3.

Crosby, winning his head-to-head matchup against Alex Ovechkin as usual despite Ovechkin's 26th goal, controlled the puck behind the net, carried it into the slot and faked a shot before throwing it into the right circle for Gonchar's seventh goal.

Three star selections:
1st:  Sidney Crosby
2nd: Nicklas Backstrom
3rd:  Darryl Sydor
Winning Goaltender:
Ty Conklin

Losing Goaltender:
Olaf Kolzig


Penguins 4, Capitals 2Mar. 9, 2008 | Matchup #11
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 2 2 10 -2 25:22 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 2 0 2 6 +2 19:37 Video

Sidney Crosby again got the better of Alex Ovechkin, thanks to a rookie who put the puck into his own net with 28 seconds to play. Nicklas Backstrom's attempt to clear the puck went horribly wrong, providing the Pittsburgh Penguins with the winning goal in a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.

The goal was credited to Crosby and was his second of the game. They were his first goals since returning after missing 21 games with a severely sprained ankle.

The win also gave Crosby another notch in a one-sided head-to-head rivalry with Ovechkin. The Penguins improved to 10-1 against the Capitals when both were playing.

Three star selections:
1st:  Evgeni Malkin
2nd: Alex Ovechkin
3rd:  Sidney Crosby
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Cristobal Huet
Getty Images



2008-09 Season
Capitals 4, Penguins 3Oct. 16, 2008 | Matchup #12
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 0 0 0 5 +1 25:50 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 2 2 5 -3 22:07 Video
The Washington Capitals probably won't win many games when they're down three goals and Alex Ovechkin doesn't score. They found a way to win this one.

Boyd Gordon scored a delayed goal in the third period to complete Washington's four-goal comeback and the Capitals shook off three Pittsburgh power-play goals and another big night against them by Evgeni Malkin to rally for a 4-3 victory.

The Penguins lost their third in four games as Crosby didn't get a goal for the fifth consecutive game and twice made mistakes that led to Washington goals.

"We tried to sit back," Crosby said. "Sometimes when you get a lead like that you think it's going to be easy. We didn't play the right way."
Three star selections:
1st:  Alexander Semin
2nd: Evgneni Malkin
3rd:  Michael Nylander
Winning Goaltender:
Jose Theodore

Losing Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury
Getty Images


Capitals 6, Penguins 3Jan. 14, 2009 | Matchup #13
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 2 1 3 10 +2 23:00 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 2 2 1 -1 22:50 Video
Alex Ovechkin let his play do the talking in what is becoming one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL.

Ovechkin had two goals and an assist and the Capitals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Penguins.

Miroslav Satan had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby had two assists for the slumping Penguins, who had lost eight of 10 overall and six of seven at home.

Crosby left late in the game after a collision with David Steckel along the boards. He limped off the ice, favoring his leg. Soon after he went to the locker room and did not return.

Three star selections:
1st:  Nicklas Backstrom
2nd: Alex Ovechkin
3rd:  Sidney Crosby
Winning Goaltender:
Jose Theodore

Losing Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury
Getty Images


Capitals 5, Penguins 2Feb 22, 2009 | Matchup #14
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 1 2 9 E 18:36 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 0 1 1 2 -2 27:08 Video
It's official: The feud is on between the NHL's two biggest stars, and it was on full display in the Capitals' 5-2 victory over the Penguins. A push and a shove along the benches late the second period resulted in Crosby being restrained by a linesman and Ovechkin dismissing his counterpart with a wave of the hand.

Ovechkin scored his 43rd goal in the win. Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, Shaone Morrisonn and Brooks Laich also scored for the Capitals, who chased goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar scored for the Penguins, who lost for the sixth time in seven road games and were beaten in Washington for the first time since Ovechkin's rookie season in 2006.

Three star selections:
1st:  Sergei Federov
2nd: Alexander Semin
3rd:  Alex Ovechkin
Winning Goaltender:
Jose Theodore

Losing Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury
Getty Images


Penguins 4, Capitals 3, SOMar 8, 2009 | Matchup #15
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 0 1 7 E 25:41 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 1 1 2 4 +2 24:15 Video
After languishing for much of the season, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins have made a big move in the playoff race. A coaching change, a healthier team and a new face or two on the ice helped put together the first 5-0 trip in franchise history, culminating with a 4-3 shootout win over Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

Ovechkin scored his 47th goal but was stopped in the shootout. Taking the ice immediately after Crosby, the Russian had his shot kicked away by Marc-Andre Fleury, who also stopped attempts by Alexander Semin and Viktor Kozlov.

"Great ones seem to have the game on the line when it's their turn," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Tonight it was Sidney's time to have the game on the line, and he's a great one. And he made no mistake when it was his turn."

Three star selections:
1st:  Sidney Crosby
2nd: Bill Guerin
3rd:  Brooks Laich
Winning Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury

Losing Goaltender:
Jose Theodore
Sidney Crosby


Capitals 3, Penguins 2May 2, 2009 | Matchup #16
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 1 0 1 9 -1 21:13 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 1 0 1 6 +1 24:12 Video
In the first playoff matchup between the game's biggest stars, it was rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov who stole the spotlight, and he stole it directly from Sidney Crosby.

Alex Ovechkin and Crosby traded goals in the first period, with Crosby opening the scoring with a beautiful wrist shot over Varlamov's glove at 4:09 of the first period. Washington's David Steckel answered later in the period, then Ovechkin got on the board. On the power play, Alexander Semin drew out Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a fake shot. With the net vacated, Semin slid the puck to Ovechkin, who buried a one-timer into the open net.

Crosby and Chris Kunitz had a 2-on-2 rush up the ice, and Crosby wriggled free from the defense. Kunitz slithered a perfect pass to Crosby for what looked to be a tap-in goal, but Varlamov reached back and made the save with the heel of his goal stick with the puck just on the goal line. Crosby threw his arms in the air for a brief moment before realizing he was he was robbed of the go-ahead goal.

Thomas Fleischmann scored less than two minutes into the third period to give the Capitals the 3-2 win. While Crosby and Ovechkin both scored in their first head-to-head playoff matchup, it was Varlamov's save that will be remembered for a long time.

Three star selections:
1st:  Simeon Varlamov
2nd: David Steckel
3rd:  Sidney Crosby
Winning Goaltender:
Simeon Varlamov

Losing Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury
Alex Ovechkin & Sidney Crosby


Capitals 4, Penguins 3 May 4, 2009 | Matchup #17
  G A PTS Shots +/- TOI  
Alex Ovechkin 3 0 3 12 +2 23:32 Recap Story
Sidney Crosby 3 0 3 5 +1 22:26 Video
It was everything you could've wanted in this matchup of superstars.

Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both had hat tricks, but it was AO's Caps picking up a 4-3 win against Sid the Kid's Penguins to give Washington a 2-0 series lead.

Just as in Game 1, Crosby struck first. He scored a power-play goal midway through the first period to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

Ovechkin tied the game in the second period off a great passing play from Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov. After Fedorov drew two defenders to him, he slid the puck to Kozlov, who dished it to Ovechkin for the one-time blast. But Crosby responded about eight minutes later, jamming home a loose puck in front of the net to make it 2-1.

After David Steckel sent the game into the second intermission tied at 2-2, Ovechkin took over. After Evgeni Malkin took a penalty, Ovechkin blasted a one-timer home four seconds later to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead. Less than three minutes later, Ovechkin buried a wrister over the catching glove of Marc-Andre Fleury for his first career playoff hat trick to make it 4-2.

With an empty net in the final minute, Crosby brought the Penguins to within a goal with his first career hat trick. But time ran out on this classic duel in the nation's capital.

Three star selections:
1st:  Alex Ovechkin
2nd: Sidney Crosby
3rd: Simeon Varlamov
Winning Goaltender:
Simeon Varlamov

Losing Goaltender:
Marc-Andre Fleury
Alex Ovechkin


Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic