Winter Classic 2011: Alex Ovechkin leads Capitals into Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby's Penguins
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2010 at 05:58 AM
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In what will be a clash featuring the two biggest superstars in Ice Hockey at the moment, Alexander Ovechkin brings his Washington Capitals to Pittsburgh to play Sidney Crosby and his Penguins.
The fourth annual Winter Classic is the first featuring Ovechkin's Capitals while the Penguins played the very first Classic in Buffalo against the Sabres in 2008. The Penguins won that game on the road and will fancy their chances this time as the home team.
The game takes place in the Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field stadium on the shore of the Ohio River. It is the first of two outdoor games to be played during the regular season of the NHL as the Heritage classic between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens will take place in Canada on 20th of February. However the Winter Classic remains the signature game of the NHL with the biggest clash of the year being played out on New Years day.
The Penguins have won 15 of their last 19 games with Sidney Crosby's 25 game point streak ending in their most recent game, a shootout loss to the New York Islanders. Crosby's streak had been the longest in the NHL since the 1992-93 season.
Previously to that game Crosby had scored two goals and added two assists to his team during a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers in Pittsburgh. Crosby will need to replicate that kind of home performance if the Penguins are to outlast the Capitals.
Ovechkin knows he cannot let that happen again or the Capitals will be in trouble at Heinz Field.
Ovechkin isn't the only player to find things tough against the Penguins this season as the home team has allowed the 2nd fewest goals in NHL coming into the game and first in Penalty killing with a huge 87.5%.
The Penguins rank first in the Eastern conference with an NHL best 25-11-3 record. The Capitals are not far behind lying 5th on a 22-12-5 record.
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