Crosby and Canucks Favoured Over Ovechkin and Ruskies in NHL and Worlds

Martin AverySenior Writer IMay 9, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MAY 08:  Defenseman Sergei Gonchar #55 of the Pittsburgh Penguins lies on the ice after being injured in a collision with Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 8, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins tied up their series against the Washington Capitals with a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals and are now favoured to win the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.

Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal in Game 4 to become the hero while Alex Ovechkin turned into the series' villain.

Ovechkin got a death threat before the game, was held to just two shots on net, got one assist, and injured the Penguins' best defenceman, Sergei Gonchar, with a knee-to-knee hit shortly after he scored a huge goal for Pittsburgh.

In the battle between Crosby and Ovechkin, it was the Canadian kid playing for Pittsburgh who looked good and the Russian playing for Washington who fell from grace.

Canada and Russia are facing off for the gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday and the USA could win bronze but the series that has captured the attention of hockey fans worldwide is happening between Pittsburgh and Washington.

The Penguins have 13 Canadians and had two great Russians, in Evgeni Malkin and Gonchar. The Capitals have more Russian talent than the team representing Russia in the World Championships, with Ovechkin, Fedorov, Semin, Kozlov, and rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov.

The Russian team, without Ovechkin, Varlamov, Fedorov, Semin, Kozlov, Malkin and Gonchar, barely beat Team USA in the Worlds. Russia went undefeated through its first eight games and Canada lost a shootout game to Finland.

Ovechkin now travels with bodyguards since a 17-year-old Penguins fan wrote a death threat on a website, saying he was going to kill the Capitals leading scorer.

At the end of Game 4, the Penguins accused Ovechkin of deliberate intent to injure. Gonchar left the game and may not play for the rest of the playoffs.

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Gonchar scored the first of the three straight goals that gave the Penguins the lead in the game. He was hit by Ovechkin shortly after scoring when they collided by the Pittsburgh net and Ovechkin appeared to poke his his right knee out just before they hit.

Gonchar dropped to the ice and tried in vain to get up again. He had to be helped off the ice but Ovechkin got just a minor minute penalty for kneeing.

The Penguins claim Ovechkin is trying to injure players as he takes big runs at them, leaving his feet after taking a lot of strides, which is illegal.

The Capitals are playing without Donald Brashear, rumored to be heading to Russia to play in the KHL, after he was suspended six games for two hits in Washington's first round series against the Rangers.

He ran into Colton Orr before the game, putting him out, and then re-arranged the orbital bone of Blair Betts with a vicious elbow smash, early in the game. Betts is out of hockey for an undetermined amount of time.

he Washington Capitals have recalled forward Jay Beagle from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. Beagle is 6'3" and is known as a fighter in the AHL.