BEST VS. BEST

Ovie and Crosby en­tered league at same time and are al­ways com­pared

The Hockey News - Rivalries 2014 - - Team Vs. Team -

YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO BE Alan Tur­ing to de­code Wash­ing­ton’s strat­egy dur­ing free agency: “If you can’t beat ’em, ac­quire ’em.” Pitts­burgh has been a lop­sided ri­val for the Cap­i­tals and new Wash­ing­ton GM Brian MacLel­lan must have been well aware of this when he snagged Brooks Or­pik and Matt Niska­nen on the open mar­ket after the Pens let them walk.

Ever since Alex Ovechkin and Sid­ney Crosby en­tered the league at the same time, Wash­ing­ton-Pitts­burgh was a per­fect show­piece ri­valry for the NHL, es­pe­cially when the league needed to get back in the good graces of the Amer­i­can pub­lic. Win­ter Clas­sics, games of the week and play­off bat­tles fol­lowed, but only the Pen­guins found play­off glory, reach­ing the fi­nal in 2008 and win­ning the next sea­son, elim­i­nat­ing the Caps along the way in a clas­sic se­ries. Wash­ing­ton has yet to get past the sec­ond round.

For a while, Ovechkin had a vi­cious hate-on for Pitts­burgh’s Ev­geni Malkin, but the Rus­sian stars made peace at the 2009 All-Star Game.

The two teams meet Dec. 27, Jan. 28, Feb. 17 and Feb. 25.

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