The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, whose 50 points in his last 26 games allowed him to pull even with rival Alex Ovechkin in career points, is poised to overtake the Washington Capitals left winger for the first time since 2008 at the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic tomorrow.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows Crosby, who on Dec. 29 ended a streak of 25 games with at least a point, and Ovechkin with 571 career points. They’ve traded the lead in career points three times since their NHL careers began in 2005.
The two will ring in the new year when both teams meet at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field for the NHL Winter Classic. The event, which began in 2008, features a regular-season game played outdoors in a nod to the game’s origins. Warmer weather and rain may force the league to delay the game to Jan. 2, the NHL said this week.
“You’ve got two superstars that understand what rivalry is all about and they understand the big stage,” said Pierre McGuire, a sports commentator who will be one of NBC’s analysts for the game. “There’s so many good dream matchups for the Winter Classic, but this one’s about as good as it gets.”
Ovechkin, 25, led the first year with 106 points before the 23-year-old Crosby passed him early in the 2006-2007 season. Crosby missed 29 games the following season and Ovechkin regained the points lead after Washington’s 10-2 victory March 3, 2008, against the Boston Bruins in which he had five points. Ovechkin had maintained his lead since then. Their rivalry was featured in a four-part series on premium cable network HBO called, “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.”