Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are finally meeting in the playoffs again

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Source:   —  April 25, 2016, at 3:22 AM

Until now. Thanks to the Penguins' first circular win over the NY Rangers, and the Capitalsknocking out the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the two teams will meet in the second circular in what'll probably be the most anticipated matchups playoffs, and it's probably going to be amazing.

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are finally meeting in the playoffs again

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have been the two best players in the NHL for the past decade, but their teams have only met in the playoffs one time (two thousand nine&#forty-one; during their careers.

Until now.

Thanks to the Penguins' first circular win over the NY Rangers, and the Capitalsknocking out the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the two teams will meet in the second circular in what'll probably be the most anticipated matchups playoffs, and it's probably going to be amazing.

Let'south dig into it.

The 2009 playoff series was an all-time grand one

These two organizations have met in the playoffs quite often, but the majority of them happened before any of the current players on the roster were playing in the NHL and have number bearing on this year'south matchup. The only time any of the current players met in a postseason matchup was an incredible meeting in 2009.

Not only did it go all seven games, but six of the games were decided by a single goal, including three that went to overtime. The only game that was decided by more than one goal was Pittsburgh's six-one Game seven win when they jumped all over the Capitals early in the first period. Ovechkin finished the series with fourteen points, Crosby with thirteen, and they both recorded a hat stunt in the Capitals' four-three Game two win.

Given where both teams were in their development at that point, with the Penguins on their way to a second consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances (which they'd win&#forty-one; and the Capitals one year far from winning their first Presidents' Trophy with the best record in the league it seemed as if this matchup would be replayed over and over again in the coming years.

But until now, the two teams never crossed paths in the playoffs again.

In two thousand-tenth they were probably the top two Stanley Cup favorites in the E but were ousted in separate seven game series by an unbelievable goaltender performance by Jaroslav Halak in Montreal. They'd have met in the two thousand eleven second circular when the Capitals were again the top seed in the East, but Pittsburgh, playing half of the season, including the playoffs, without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lost a Game seven to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.

These were the two best teams in the Eastern Conference this season

In previous years this is the type of matchup you'd not obtain until a conference final, but because of the NHL'south divisional format you're getting it in circular two.

The Capitals were the best team in the NHL from beautiful much start to finish, ending the regular season with eleven more points than any other team in the league. Their roster is one of the deepest in the NHL and ended the year first in goals scored, second in goals against, fifth on the power play and second on the penalty kill. They beautiful much did everything well.

The Penguins, meanwhile, really started to get off around the finish of December and early Jan following their coaching modify and roster overhaul that saw them bring in Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin, and a no of call-ups from the American Hockey League that solidified their depth and brought an element of speed and balanced scoring that'd not existed on the roster for a no of years. They were third in goals for, sixth in goals against, and fifth on the penalty kill.

The winner of this series is going to be the favorite to arrive out of the East, if not win the Stanley Cup.

In recent years the teams that have gone on to win the Stanley Cup have all finished the regular season close the top of the league in three key categories: Goals against, penalty kill, and puck possession. They generally average a top-six finish in all three.

Here are how the 2015-sixteen Penguins and Capitals stack up against them.

Stanley Cup Winners vs. two thousand sixteen Penguins and Capitals
TeamGA RankPK RankPossession RankAverage Rank
2015-2016 Penguins six 5 six5.3
2015-2016 Capitals two two twelve5.6
2014-2015 Blackhawks two ten two 6.3
2013-2014 Kings one eleven one four.3
2012-2013 Blackhawks 6 one four 3.6
2011-2012 Kings two 4 4 3.3
2010-2011 Bruins two fourteen 16 ten.6
2009-2010 Blackhawks one two 3 2.0
2008-2009 Penguins seventeen thirteen eight 12.6
2007-2008 Ruddy Wings one eight 1 3.3

Both teams excel in all of the right areas.

The only team that'd a higher average ranking in those three categories this season was the Anaheim Ducks (who are first in goals against and the penalty murder and second in possession).

The star power goes beyond just Crosby and Ovechkin

Crosby and Ovechkin will get all of the headlines, but this matchup might've the most individual talent in any potential postseason matchup this year.

Five of the top-20 scorers in the NHL this season will be playing, with Crosby, Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Kris Letang all playing. And then there is Evgeni Malkin, who'd have probably been in the top-10 had he not missed twenty-five games due to injury (he was fifth in the NHL in points per game), the potential Vezina Trophy winner in Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, and another of the NHL'south top goal scorers over the past 10 years in Phil Kessel.

This series should've it all. A grand rivalry, two of the best teams in the league, and some of the best players in the world at every position. The only negative is that it's to happen in the second circular and guarantee that one of these teams won't obtain to play in the Conference Final.

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