In order for players to be the best at their sport, they have to beat the best. Right now two teams are playing a tight series in the second round of the NHL Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. But within that series is another competition. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin are going head to head to earn the unofficial title of the best player in the NHL.
After three games, the Capitals lead the series 2-1 and both Crosby and Ovechkin are having fantastic series. Game 2 was particularly memorable. Both players scored three goals, a feat which is called a hat trick. When a player on the home team scores a hat trick, fans throw old hats onto the ice. Game 2 was extra special, as hockey fans were treated to two hat tricks, from the two best players in hockey. It was the first time that two opposing players scored a hat trick in the same game during the playoffs since 1996.
Through Game 3 of this second round series, Crosby and Ovechkin are the two top scorers in the playoffs. Crosby has eight goals and 14 assists, while Ovechkin has eight goals and 13 assists.
The best thing about the Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry is that it's going to last for many more years. Crosby is only 21 years old; Ovechkin is 23. This is the first time that these two young superstars have met in the playoffs but it likely will not be the last. What makes this pairing so exciting is that it could establish a rivalry that could exist for many years to come. Both players are fun to watch because they play two very different styles of hockey. Crosby, a center, is a very smart player who excels at assisting his teammates on goals. He is a great passer and knows exactly where his teammates are going to be. Ovechkin, a 220-pound left wing, is very strong and one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He is great at forcing his way to the net to score.
Both players are shining in the playoffs, the NHL's biggest stage. If the pair of Game 2 hat tricks is any indication, hockey fans are going to enjoy Crosby and Ovechkin's head to head matchups for a long, long time.
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