After becoming the 21st team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit, the Washington Capitals head back to the second round for the first time in 11 years. Alex Ovechkin and company meet a familiar foe in round two as they welcome the fourth seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Led by Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby the Penguins Capitals match-up sees two of the league’s faces go head to head in a series which might go 7 games.
Crosby vs Ovechkin, Ovechkin vs Malkin, Semin vs Crosby, the Russian 5 vs the Russian duo, the headlines are endless with this series as not only do the NHL’s brigthest stars go head to head but Russia’s as well. It was not too long ago that Ovechkin and Malkin were feuding before Ilya Kovalchuk intervened at the all-star game in Montreal resulting in this kiss and make up moment.
Now the two players who are nominated for the league’s MVP and who will no doubt be featured in Russia’s roster come 2010 in Vancouver will go toe-to-toe on the biggest stage of their NHL careers thus far. Not to mention Malkin’s teammate Crosby has been critical of Ovechkin’s cheap shots with the players having to be separated in a game back in February. Who can forget the now infamous “what’s so special about Crosby?” line by Alexander Semin.
The NHL’s dream match up has specfically been delayed to start tomorrow so it can be broadcasted on national televsion (NBC 1 pm).
Both teams have plenty of fire power with the usual suspects as well as Viktor Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov, Niklas Backstrom, Ruslan Fedetenko, Tyler Kennedy etc. Both blue lines feature prominent players such as Mike”time to wake up” Green for the Caps and Sergei”hey remember me?”Gonchar who was tops in ice time last round.
The battle between the pipes will be interesting as rookie sensation Simeon Varlamov(who I hear might pay top ruble for this domain) will take on Marc-Andre Fleury who only had to stand on his head in round 1 against the Flyers. Fleury is the key to the Penguins success having led them to the Cup last year while Varlamov still has under 12 games in his pro career.
Caps in 7
Russians in the mix: Wash-Fedorov, Kozlov, Ovechkin, Semin, Varlamov Pitt:Gonchar, Fedetenko, Malkin