Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will go head-to-head for the 50th time in the regular season when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Washington Capitals on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC). It's the first of four games this season between the Metropolitan Division rivals.
The two forwards came into the NHL together in 2005-06, with Ovechkin finishing ahead of Crosby in winning the voting for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie after scoring 52 goals and finishing with 106 points; Crosby had 39 goals and 102 points. Ovechkin is No. 1 in the NHL in goals (695) and points (1,265) since their arrival, with Crosby No. 2 in points (1,244).
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But Ovechkin has played 1,135 games to 966 for Crosby, whose 1.29 points-per-game average is ahead of Ovechkin's (1.11).
Crosby and the Penguins have had the better of Ovechkin and the Capitals since the two faced each other for the first time Nov. 22, 2005, a 5-4 home victory for the Penguins. Crosby had a goal and an assist in 19:16 of ice time that night; Ovechkin had a third-period assist and played 25:17.
That was the first of 30 wins in 49 games for the Penguins against the Capitals in games with both players in the lineup (they've played seven times when Crosby was injured; Ovechkin has never missed a game against the Penguins). Pittsburgh is 30-17-2 when Crosby and Ovechkin have faced each other; the Capitals are 19-23-7.
Not surprisingly, Ovechkin, who passed Mark Messier for eighth place on the NHL's all-time goals list Friday, has scored more goals (30) than Crosby (24) in those 49 games. But the Pittsburgh center has big edges in assists (46-21) and points (70-51).
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Crosby and the Penguins have faced Ovechkin and the Capitals in four Stanley Cup Playoff series, winning the first three (2009, 2016 and 2017) before losing in six games in the 2018 Eastern Conference Second Round. The winner of each of the four series went on to win the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins are 13-12 in 25 postseason games with both players in the lineup (Crosby missed Game 4 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Second Round, a 3-2 Pittsburgh win, with a concussion). Ovechkin has slightly better offensive numbers across the board, leading in goals (15-13), assists (18-17) and points (33-30). In the most famous game involving the two, each scored three goals in Washington's 4-3 win in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was the fourth time since the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup in 1926 that players on opposing teams each had a hat trick in a playoff game.