Crosby—Ovechkin: Penguins Win Classic NHL Playoff

Martin AverySenior Writer IMay 14, 2009

WASHINGTON - MAY 04:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates past Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 4, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington,  DC.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

The Quarterfinal series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals had the feel of the Stanley Cup finals and was even greater as it featured a match-up between the top two superstars who are destined for hockey immortality.

The Penguins-Caps series was a classic, comparable to the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls in Round One of this year’s NBA playoffs. The excitement generated by Crosby and Ovechkin was even better than the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire 1998 home run chase, as they did it without steroids.

Ovechkin is a couple of years older than Crosby and Crosby has the third leading superstar of the NHL, Evgeni Malkin, on his side.

The Penguins upset the Capitals, coming form behind, after losing the first two games in Washington, to win three in a row—two at home and one on the road—and then the Caps tied it up so it all came down to Game Seven, which the Penguins won in Washington.

Crosby had two goals and an assist in Game Seven to take the lead in scoring over Ovechkin, who had just one goal.

Ovechkin ended with 21 points, on 11 goals and ten assists.
Crosby had 21 points, with 12 goals and 9 assists.

Ovechkin and Crosby were tied in points but Crosby had more goals.

Most importantly, Crosby had more victories, as the Penguins beat the Capitals 4-3 and move on to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Who won the war between Crosby and Ovechkin? The NHL and the millions who watched this series won big time. Ovechkin lost points with fans for violent play. Crosby is still playing.

And so, after all this, I think we can safely say that "Sid The Kid" finished ahead of "The Great Eight."

Ryan Dixon, writing in The Hockey News, pointed out that "This little thing Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have going has illuminated the league and sport in places previously unaware of its allure."

To prove his point, he reported that on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser debated whether the Caps—Pens series eclipsed the classic seven-game battle waged by the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls in Round One of this year’s NBA playoffs.

Not to put too fine a point on it, he also added, "And they did it during the show’s first segment, not at the end of the telecast, where hockey usually resides—unless Sean Avery has done something truly off the charts."

Or, as Bruce Arthur said in the National Post, "this is what hockey should be. And for nearly two glorious weeks, we could say it was what hockey was."


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