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Daily Primer Nov. 20: Crosby, Ovechkin square off

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider


Two of the NHL's biggest stars will go face-to-face Wednesday at Verizon Center.

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Washington (12-8-1) trails Pittsburgh (13-8-0) by one point for the Metropolitan Division lead.

"Of course, it's a challenge for me, and for him I think," Ovechkin told reporters Tuesday about facing Crosby. "But, don't forget [Evgeni] Malkin, don't forget Nicky [Nicklas Backstrom] … I don't think it's only two of us right now."

Here's a closer look at the action Wednesday:


Sid and Ovi face off for first time as division rivals

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will face off as division rivals for the first time in their careers when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals meet in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS2). Until this season, Crosby and the Penguins were part of the Atlantic Division, and Ovechkin and the Capitals played in the Southeast.

Both players and their teams are off to good starts: The Penguins are tops in the Metropolitan Division with 26 points, one more than the Capitals. Crosby is tied for the League lead in scoring with 26 points; Ovechkin shares the top spot in goals with 17.


Over the Boards: Text from Richards relaxes Giroux

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- A text message from a guy who recently walked in Claude Giroux's shoes helped the Philadelphia Flyers captain rediscover his passion so he could start to break out of his scoring slump.

"It wasn't going right, and I got a nice text from Mike Richards. … I think he gave me a boost to relax and play the game," Giroux told NHL.com on Tuesday prior to playing the Ottawa Senators at Wells Fargo Center. "It's a great game. There's a reason why we play in the NHL. It's because we know what we're doing. It's just about going back to basics, going out there, have fun, play the game."

Giroux couldn't remember exactly when he got that text from Richards, the former Flyers captain who is now playing for the Los Angeles Kings. He said it was a couple of weeks ago, well before he scored his first goal of the season against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 9.

He also wouldn't reveal what Richards wrote in that text message, but it was enough to lift Giroux's spirits and get him pointed in the right direction.


Teams, players to watch at season's quarter mark

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

The start of the 2013-14 season has provided plenty of surprises and disappointments to supplement the teams and players that have met preseason expectations.

Whether it is through traditional statistics or the breakthrough of advanced metrics into the mainstream conversation, there are several teams worth watching as the 2013-14 season heads for the halfway point.

Here's a look at some of the surprising statistics from the season's first quarter, with an eye toward how teams and players might perform in the next quarter. NOTE: Most of the advanced statistics in this story are from ExtraSkater.com, an easy choice for the Calder Trophy among hockey websites in 2013-14:


Rivalry Night Faceoff: Crosby vs. Ovechkin

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

To help celebrate NBC Rivalry Night, NHL.com will look at a rivalry within the rivalry of the featured game on Wednesday nights. For this week, we take a look at which superstar is off to the better start in 2013-14, 2013 Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin or 2013 Ted Lindsay Award winner Sidney Crosby.

There aren't many professional athletes that can say their time in a league defined an era. When Alex Ovechkin joined the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby debuted for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005-06, they were two of the most anticipated rookies in the history of the sport.

There wasn't much of a rivalry between the players at first, but they quickly became two of the premier talents in the League and helped their teams become Stanley Cup contenders. The rivalry between Crosby and Ovechkin, and between their teams, intensified and at one point was considered by many in the hockey world to be the best in the NHL.


Suter has played his way into Norris Trophy lead

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the first quarter of the 2013-14 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter lives the quiet life as a part-time farmer in Wisconsin during the offseason. If he continues to play the amount of productive minutes he's playing this season, he may want to let someone else ride his tractor out into the soybean fields next summer so he can sit on the couch and put up his feet.

Suter has been the NHL's busiest and best defenseman through the first quarter of the season. He plays nearly half the game and most of the time it's 30 mistake-free minutes. He has 14 assists, but that number doesn't even come close to describing Suter's effectiveness this season.


Bruins' Seidenberg leaves with first-period injury

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 12:51 AM / News

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg left the Boston Bruins' game against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night after one shift with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Late in his first shift of the game, Seidenberg was injured during a scramble in front of the net, although it wasn't immediately apparent that he was hurt on the play. Boston iced the puck shortly after the hit, forcing Seidenberg to stay on the ice. He left after the next faceoff and did not return.

Coach Claude Julien said after the 2-1 victory that it was "obviously a lower body injury where he couldn't come back" and that Seidenberg would be evaluated after the team returned to Boston.


Blackhawks' Bickell sidelined with lower-body injury

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 12:12 AM / News

Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell left the game against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Bickell was injured with 9:05 remaining in the opening period when he went hard to the net, lost his edge and went crashing into the left post, catching his left leg on the post. He was helped to the dressing room.

Coach Joel Quenneville said after the 5-1 loss that Bickell will be evaluated Wednesday.


St. Louis plays in 1,000th career NHL game

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 10:46 PM / News

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis skated in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. He became the 286th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game milestone.

St. Louis, the franchise's ninth captain, has played 1,000 career games split between the Calgary Flames (69 games) and the Lightning (931 games). He is the 27th active player to skate in 1,000 or more NHL games and the 45th college player in NHL history to accomplish the feat. St. Louis also becomes just the 16th undrafted NHLer to reach the 1,000 game plateau since the inception of the universal draft in 1969.


Maple Leafs sign Finn to entry-level contract

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 5:18 PM / News


The Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday signed defenseman Matt Finn to a three-year entry-level contract.

Finn, selected in the second round (No. 35) of the 2012 NHL Draft, has five goals and 20 points in 21 games this season for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, tying him for fourth in scoring among defenseman in the league. Finn also has a plus-15 rating.

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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild