Sidney Crosby vs Alexander Ovechkin rivalry renewed. In what is going to be the most anticipated matchup of the second-round, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals look to put on a show with the rights to advance closer to the Stanley Cup. The Capitals were 1st overall in the regular season, but the Penguins have been the hottest team in the league the past two months. This should promise to be a thriller, which might prove to be the best series in the entire playoffs. The series provides another page in the Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin rivalry. Sidney Crosby has been the victor in that respect. He has the gold medals, he has the Stanley Cup. Conversely, Ovechkin has been stone cold with respects to team accolades. Individually he has done about all he can on the ice. Ovi still doesn’t have that illustrious ring to add to his resume, though.
The Penguins went from being a team dead in the water, to a Stanley Cup favorite in about a month. I remember when there was a question of whether they were going to reach the playoffs. Leafs’ fans were panicked that they were going to lose out on that first round draft pick. Not to fret, the Pens are looking at a deep playoff run and the Leafs will have the Penguins’ pick in the draft. A deep playoff run, if they can make it past the Washington Capitals. Teams were right when they wanted to avoid the Penguins in the playoffs.
The Islanders weren’t going to say it out loud, but there was a sense near the end of the year that the Isles were looking to stay away from the Penguins. Instead, they drew the Florida Panthers, where they sent them away in six games. Meanwhile, the Capitals avoided a monster collapse by dispatching the Flyers in six games as well. This was after a 3-0 lead in the series. Let’s give credit to Michal Neuvirth. That series should have been over in five games, the Caps weren’t choking, it was just a case of Neuvirth playing unbelievably in bet. Washington outshot the Flyers by nearly 30 shots in that one! Both teams are going to be fired up for this series, as two of the best in hockey duel on the ice for more bragging rights.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals NHL Playoffs Pick
Ovechkin has the opportunity now to make up for the past years of failures. Even better, he can do it against the player he has always been compared to, Sidney Crosby. Both came into the NHL around the same time, with lofty expectations, so it was easy to say that Crosby and Ovechkin were always going to be compared to one another. Ovi was terrific once again during the regular season, netting 50 goals and 21 assists. Crosby got off to a slow start, but ended the season with 38 goals and 49 assists. Another feather in the hat for Ovechkin and Crosby. We expect quite the series from these two superstars.
The Capitals did everything right during the regular season. They are a team that finished with a record of 56-18-8. The Caps also went 31-9-4 at home. Statistically they were near the top in all major categories, including goal scoring and defense. In the first-round against Philadelphia, the Capitals allowed just an average of 1 goal per game. In no game did Holtby let more than 2 goals behind him.
The Penguins’ starting netminder, Matthew Murray, has stolen the show for the Penguins. When Fleury went down, it appeared like the Pens might take a nose dive. However, Murray has been a rock in net for the Penguins as a rookie. How is he going to handle the Capitals in net? Certainly a much better offense than the Flyers. I think the Capitals come out on fire at home against Crosby and the Penguins. It always helps to have the best goalie in the playoffs in your corner. This should be a long series, but the Capitals get the party started tonight with a win on their home ice.
PICK: CAPITALS TO WIN -130