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Round 2

Sidney Crosby of Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of Capitals ready for more

Two of game's top superstars go head-to-head for third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

There is a rich Stanley Cup Playoff history between Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

More will be added in the next two weeks when Crosby and Ovechkin meet for a third time in the postseason; the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series begins at Verizon Center on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Crosby, the Penguins' captain, and Ovechkin, the Capitals' captain, first faced each other in the playoffs in 2009.

Each had a hat trick in Game 2 of that series, a 4-3 win by the Capitals that was sporting theater at its finest. They became the first players from opposite teams to score three goals in a playoff game since Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks and Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.

Ovechkin, a left wing, had 14 points (eight goals, six assists), a plus-5 rating and 41 shots on goal in the seven-game series. Crosby, a center, had 13 points (eight goals, five assists), a plus-4 rating and 32 shots on goal.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm4: Ovechkin cranks slapper for PPG

Crosby may have lost the individual battles, but he and the Penguins won the series in seven games. They went on to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Detroit Red Wings in the Final.

The Penguins also won when they played the Capitals in the second round of the 2016 playoffs, this time in six games. It again served as a springboard to winning the Stanley Cup; the Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Final.

In the series between the Penguins and the Capitals last year, Ovechkin had the better offensive numbers. He had seven points (two goals, five assists), a plus-2 rating and 33 shots on goal; Crosby had two assists, a minus-3 rating and 14 shots on goal.

In 13 head-to-head games in the postseason, Ovechkin has 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) to Crosby's 15 (eight goals, seven assists). But Crosby has two series victories and has won the Cup twice. Ovechkin has never been past the second round.

Crosby and Ovechkin have played against each other 54 times (41 times in regular season), and Crosby has won 33 of those games (61 percent), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Crosby has 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists) and Ovechkin has 64 points (35 goals, 29 assists).

Since entering the League together for the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin is No. 1 in the NHL in goals (558), and Crosby is second (382). They're also first (1,035) and second (1,028), respectively, in points. They have combined to win the Hart Trophy five times, with Ovechkin (2008, 2009, 2013) holding a 3-2 edge against Crosby (2007, 2014). They're the only players to win the award multiple times since 2006.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm5: Crosby cranks a one-timer for PPG

In the postseason, Crosby has 144 points (51 goals, 93 assists) in 129 games, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in five games in 2017. Ovechkin has 85 points (44 goals, 41 assists) in 90 career NHL playoff games, including three goals in six games this year.

The Capitals and Penguins played each other four times during the regular season; Washington won twice in regulation and lost once each in overtime and a shootout. Crosby missed the first game on Oct. 13 because of a concussion.

Crosby, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading goal scorer with 44 this season. He had 89 points, second by 11 points behind Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, who played seven more games. Ovechkin had 33 goals and 69 points in 82 games.

Ovechkin, 31, was selected No. 1 in the 2004 draft. He has 558 goals and 477 assists in 921 career NHL regular-season games. Crosby, 29, has 382 goals and 645 assists in 782 career regular-season games.

The Capitals advanced after a six-game series win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games.

The second-round playoff series marks the first time Crosby and Ovechkin will share the same sheet of ice since they joined forces at the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center on Jan. 29, when they helped the Metropolitan Division to a 10-6 win against the Atlantic Division in the semifinals and 4-3 defeat of the Pacific Division in the final of the 3-on-3 tournament.

"I think there's a mutual respect there," Crosby said when asked about Ovechkin at the All-Star Game. "We both want to win, both want to play hard for our team. I think that's what we expect when we play each other."

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