NHL Rivalries: Forget Ovechkin, Here Comes Giroux/Crosby
For the first couple of years of their careers, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin were undoubtedly the best players in the world.
The rivalry between the two players spread like wildfire throughout the whole rosters, as the Pittsburgh/Washington rivalry grew as well.
The height of this battle was in the '08/'09 season; one which saw healthy seasons from both players, resulting in a second-and third-place finish in the league for points, both trailing Evgeni Malkin.
The two teams also met in the second round of the playoffs that year. In the second game, the Capitals won 4-3, giving them a 2-0 series lead.
In the game, both Crosby and Ovechkin netted hat tricks. Upon Ovechkin's hat trick, Crosby's frustration boiled over, causing him to worsen his reputation when he asked the referees to organize a stadium announcement to stop throwing hats.
Pittsburgh, losing their first two home games, managed to fight back and pick up two wins in Washington, eventually leading to a Game 7 win.
Unfortunately, Ovechkin's decreased production and Crosby's injury struggles have caused the rivalry to reduce to a minimum.
Thankfully, in Game 6 of the Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh series, a new rivalry was born.
Crosby's new-found health has once again put his name at the top of the list of best players in the world; a list with a new name near the top in Claude Giroux.
The rivalry between the two was inevitable as each player tried to lead their respective teams through the first round of the playoffs, but it became official in the first shift of Game 6.
Claude Giroux, pumped up and angry from the two previous games, laid a bone-crushing hit on the Penguins star, leading to the wrist shot that opened the scoring and gave the Flyers the momentum to get the win and end the series.
Love or hate him, everyone knows that Sidney Crosby is one of the most competitive guys in the league. And after being left flattened and embarrassed by Giroux, you know Crosby is just waiting for next season to get payback.
Next season, we can expect to see the Crosby vs. Giroux rivalry heat up, as the (arguably) two best players in the world try to prove they're better than the other.
The only differences between this rivalry and the one versus Ovechkin are that the two are more similar sizes (meaning we can expect both to be dishing out the hits), their two teams hate each other more than Ovechkin and Crosby's teams do, and we can watch them battle at least six times each season.
Once the playoffs are complete, it's going to a be a long summer as we wait for Crosby's response to the dominant shift that took control of the series.
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