I just got finished watching Game 2 of the Caps-Penguins series and it seemed like during the game the same word kept jumping out of my mouth like a broken record, Wow! There is no other way to describe this series so far.
Image Courtesy of the Associated Press
Just when I think it can’t get any better or more intense the players prove me wrong, and I love it! We all knew coming into this series that the focus would be on Ovechkin and Crosby, and for good reason. Both of these guys have already won scoring titles in their young careers and Ovie was four points away from winning another one this season. They are two of the best players in the league and have single-handedly, or double-handedly, put the excitement back in the NHL.
Personally I knew both these guys would play a big part for their respective teams in this series, but I had no idea it would be to this extent. Ovie has four of his team’s seven goals and Crosby has four out of the five for the Pens. Talk about trading blows!These guys have jawed to the media about each other since they came into the league and they simply don’t like one another, and why would they?
Sid the Kid is a nice, tidy, low-key player who doesn’t like to get too rough and whose goal celebrations look like they should be wrapped in a nice gift bag with a big shiny bow on the front. Ovie, on the other hand, is a hard-nosed, rough, scrappy player who will get into it with anyone, anywhere and he could care less about what people think of the way he carries himself.
Oh, and his goal celebrations are the best I’ve ever seen. Who else throws himself into the glass like a madman and warms his hands with his burning stick? It’s brilliant! But Ovie has simply been too much for the Pens to handle thus far. The Rangers held him in check in the first few games and they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. But you can’t hold a superstar down forever.
Ovie and the Caps bounced back nicely from being swept at home and split the next two games at Madison Square Garden. Then, in Game 5 Ovie showed us why people call him “The Great 8.” He scored one of his signature “How did he do that?” goals by splitting two defenders and gliding the puck through Derek Morris’ legs en route to a diving shot that snuck past Marc-Andre Fleury. This is all he needed to get him going, and he hasn’t looked back since.
What he did tonight was just unbelievable and it showed us even more of the disparity between himself and Crosby. While Crosby had three of what I consider to be trash goals (the variety in which he didn’t have to work much to score), Ovie’s hat trick was much more jaw-dopping. Two of his three goals were lethal slap shots and the other one was a wrister that Fleury had absolutely no chance of saving. After the third goal, I was in awe.
The large wave of hats being tossed onto the ice was an amazing sight to see and is one of those moment where we will all look back someday and say, that’s when Ovie’s legacy really began. I know he’s scored a lot of goals and has been a dominant regular-season player but let’s face it, a player’s legacy starts in the playoffs. He doesn’t want to be another Dan Marino sitting at home thinking of how nice it is to have all these individual accomplishments and no championships to show for them. Just about every player in professional sports would much rather have a championship ring than an MVP trophy.
That’s just the way it is. And I’m sure Ovie would give anything to hold Lord Stanley’s Cup in the air and give it a big smooch with his missing tooth of a mouth. His rival Crosby took his team to the Stanley Cup Finals last year but couldn’t seal the deal. Let’s see if Ovie can one up Crosby this season and bring home a long-awaited championsip. The Caps still have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to reach that point but as of right now, the head-to-head matchup of Ovechkin-Crosby stands as follows: Ovie 2, Crosby 0!