The season started much like any other. Most of the statistical prognosticators were looking at Sidney Crosby as one of the most complete players in the league, but the most dangerous scorer projected to be Alex Ovechkin.
Who could blame them for having such a view; I mean Ovechkin had out-goaled Crosby 219-132 over the first four years of their careers. He had proven time and time again that he was the most famous goal scorer in all the land and he had a loyal sea of fans rocking the red to prove it!
Of course he also had plenty of media hyping his product as the best!
“He wins games with his scoring AND his physicality. No one is better at taking over a game,” Sam Carchidi of the Philly Inquire told the Tribune Review this week.
Scott Burnside of ESPN.com, after sampling Ovechkin’s goals, told the Trib…
“The numbers are just too impressive to ignore.”
Goals are sort of Ovechkin’s thing… it is what he is known far and wide for providing the hungry masses and Crosby was comfortable with that. That is until he scratched just about everything else off of his list.
Art Ross Trophy? Check…
Hart Memorial? Check…
Lester B. Pearson? Yep…
Stanley Cup? Uh huh… got it…
Olympic Gold? Of Course…
Rocket Richard? Hmmm… no…
So it was no surprise to see Crosby sort of slither into the fray unnoticed before shouting, “Alex Ovechkin! Are you ready for a Throwdown?”
And a Flay style Throwdown is exactly what we have had this season as the two have been neck and neck at the front of the NHL goal scoring pack. Ovechkin has scored his goals in bunches, as he always does, while Crosby worked a new stick in this past summer that has him firing the puck like never before.
The Penguins captain is shooting the puck more frequently and with a ton more accuracy. That touch has him tied with Ovechkin for the league lead with 45 goals with nine games remaining in the regular season. It is also worth noting that these two have been battling in the goal scoring department all the way back to last year’s playoffs. The duo have posted 60 (Crosby) and 56 (Ovechkin) respectively leading back to last spring.
The battle between these two virtuosos of puck will bring them to the same sheet of ice for only the third time this season tonight in Washington.
Ovechkin has swayed the masses with his performance during the previous two battles this season. How will tonight’s play out? No one knows for sure, however it will go a long way towards determining the overall winner.
We won’t know the outcome of this throwdown until the end of the regular season when they will be judged by acclaimed goal scorer, Maurice “Rocket” Richard and his Trophy that goes to the league’s leading goal getter.
Evgeni Malkin will be out of the line-up this evening. He will be missing his second in a row and fourth in his last five with a bruised foot. Malkin played Saturday, but seemingly aggravated the injury in a late game spill.
Sidney Crosby has no goals and just 3 assists over the ten games that Evgeni Malkin has missed this season.
The Penguins power play is 0-32 when Geno Machino is out of the line-up.
The team has gone just 3-7 in games when 71 is out of the line-up.
Brooks Laich will also miss tonight’s contest with undisclosed facial injuries caused by the previously reported puck to the face.
Goalies for tonight are expected to be: Marc Andre Fleury for the Penguins; Jose Theodore for the Capitals.