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Ovechkin has great respect for Kane

Says Blackhawks offensive force ultimate blend of smarts, skill

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin is a three-time NHL MVP and the first player in the NHL to reach 40 goals this season. Patrick Kane has won the Stanley Cup three times and leads the NHL with 84 points.

The two will go head-to-head when Ovechkin's Washington Capitals visit Kane's Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN), in what could be a Stanley Cup Final preview.

The Blackhawks are loading up before the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline (Monday at 3 p.m. ET), and the Capitals are miles ahead in the Presidents' Trophy race with 94 points. Each team is poised to make a deep run at the Cup this season.

As Kane and the Blackhawks pursue another title, the Capitals have yet to make it to the conference finals during Ovechkin's career.

Kane's 26-game point streak this season was the longest in the NHL since Mats Sundin went 30 games for the Quebec Nordiques in 1992-93. The streak boosted him to the points lead and he could challenge Ovechkin for the Hart Trophy this season.

"His skill is unbelievable, he controls the puck well," Ovechkin said. "He's the kind of guy who can dangle one-on-one, and obviously he's wise and he's huge."

Kane is having the best season of his career; he has reached an NHL career-high 35 goals and could meet or pass his career-high 88 points by the end of the week.

Ovechkin has scored more goals than anyone since entering the League in 2005 and knows how difficult it is to produce the volume of points he and Kane have been able to do. Goalies are getting bigger, faster and stronger by the year, but Kane and Ovechkin keep scoring.

"He's just a good player," Ovechkin said. "I say it all the time, every year it's harder and harder to score goals in this League."

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