Once upon a time, Alexander Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby was the biggest rivalry in the NHL. While that battle has lost a little bit of its sheen over the past couple of seasons, the duel between two of the league’s biggest names might be undergoing a bit of a renaissance lately. The superstars square off once again as the Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night.
- The Penguins are 1-4 SU in their last five games versus teams with winning records.
- The Capitals are 18-3 SU in their last 21 games at home.
- The Penguins are 10-4 SU in their last 14 games against the Capitals.
The Caps have been the Golden State Warriors of the NHL this season, dominating opponents and headlines since the campaign began. They are 14 points up on their nearest competitor at the top of the Eastern Conference standings and sit 22 points ahead of the Penguins entering Tuesday’s action.
Ovechkin in particular caught fire in the month of February, tallying a dozen goals and 16 points in 13 games during the month. He now leads the league with 40 goals – four up Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Penguins have begun heating up of late and bring a two-game winning streak into D.C. Tuesday night. They have provided bettors value when playing in the second game of back-to-backs since the All-Star break as well, posting a 2-0 record in two such spots since the midseason hiatus. They are in that spot once again Tuesday as they posted a 6-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night, thanks in large part to a Patric Hornqvist hattrick and Marc-Andre Fleury shutout.
Similar to Ovechkin, Crosby put together an excellent month in February, notching eight goals and 10 assists in 13 games. The Pens’ captain now sits ninth in the league in scoring with 59 points.
With Fleury getting the start Monday, it could very well be a start for backup netminder Jeff Zatkoff Tuesday night. Zatkoff allowed four goals on 16 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in his last start back on February 20.