The hockey world stood in awe of the performances by Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby on Monday night. Dueling hat tricks in a one-goal playoff game will do that.
With journalists, broadcasters, players and coaches still buzzing the next day, NHL.com compiled some of the most noteworthy responses from those who enjoyed the superb showings from the game's two biggest stars.
They Said It
"Before the start of this second-round series, it didn't seem possible that the matchup could possibly live up to the hype that had been heaped upon it, despite its considerable star power and the postseason history between two bitter rivals. But after the Washington Capitals' 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night before a manic crowd at Verizon Center, a tense, thriller of a game punctuated by hat tricks for both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, that's exactly what's happening."
- Tarik El-Bashir, Washington Post
"[U]nmatchable hype is being matched, because the two best players have four goals apiece and are delivering the kind of performances that forge true rivalries."
- Barry Svrluga, Washington Post
"Six goals between the best two players in the game spoiled everyone in attendance at Verizon Center, a building hosting a Stanley Cup playoff series the past three days as much as it is an NHL renaissance."
- Mike Wise, Washington Post
"There are nights you never forget when you cover sports. This was one of them … On Monday night in Washington, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin pushed one another to the highest of levels, raising their games to places only the best can reach. Maybe it wasn't a Game 7. Maybe it wasn't the Stanley Cup final. But it was something special, something spectacular, something we can only hope to see again."
- Elliotte Friedman, CBC Hockey Night in Canada
"What a great night for the NHL. Its two best players on a singular stage, and they both brought it. Three goals each, all scored in each player's own way. Ovechkin in spectacular fashion, Crosby with his guile and hand-eye coordination."
- John Buccigross, ESPN
"It is Ali-Frazier, Bird-Magic, Borg-McEnroe. Maybe better. Just two games into this electrifying best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Alex Ovechkin-Sidney Crosby matchup has lived up to the hype. Even moreso. Two superstars. Two hat tricks. Two kids who have yet to reach their 24th birthday who last night once against proved they are the top talents in the sport."
- Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun
"Through the first two games, Ovechkin has been mesmerizing and Sidney Crosby has been relentless. The two top stars in a series dripping with talent have not only lived up to the hype, they've surpassed it."
- Mike Prisuta, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"As good an advertisement for the NHL as you could concoct, a chance-trading, quick-passing, shoot-it-from-any-angle showcase."
- Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star
"That's why they are who they are. Not too many people can do what they did tonight. It's great for our sport."
- Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau
"They apparently heard the hype and are living up to it. They're rising to the occasion."
- Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma
"Big stage. Great players. And both of them were transcendent, historic, other-worldly players."
- Capitals owner Ted Leonsis
"It's everything the media made it out to be. It's a battle of the two best players in hockey and (Monday night) they both carried their teams."
- Capitals defenseman Mike Green
"I didn't see the game on Monday, but saw the highlights and it's two superstars going at it and I think it's great for the game and great for the fans. It's a lot of fun to watch."
- Vancouver center Henrik Sedin
"I saw the last eight minutes of Game 2. They're probably the two best players in the game right now and it's exciting to watch. They're game breakers, so it's good for their own teams right now."
- Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault