We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid will faceoff for the first time tonight. McDavid’s broken clavicle forced him to watch both Oilers/Penguins meetings last season, so watching the future Best Player in the NHL battle the reigning Best Player in the NHL for the first time will be entertaining.
It is eerie how Edmonton and Pittsburgh once again have arguably the two biggest names in the game, except this time Edmonton has the younger version.
Wayne Gretzky made his NHL debut five years before Mario Lemieux came on the scene in 1984/1985, and we were spoiled watching both of them tear it up together for the next 15 seasons.
Crosby is ten years older than McDavid, so their window to battle head-to-head will be smaller, but it will still be great.
Gretzky and Lemieux met for the first time on November 6th, 1984 in Pittsburgh, but there was no winner as the game ended in a 3-3 tie. The Oilers left Pittsburgh with a scorching 10-0-3 record, while the Penguins were a respectable 5-5-1.
Hockey fans in Pittsburgh will hit the polls early before settling in to watch #87 battle #97. Unlike Gretzky and Lemieux’s first encounter, we might actually see McDavid and Crosby on the ice at the same time. In the 1980s many teams put checkers on the best players and Dave Hannah checked Gretzky most of the game.
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan has once tried to alter matchups, when he moved McDavid around versus the Leafs, but for the most part he hasn’t fretted too much about who McDavid plays against.
I’m sure the Oscar Klefbom/Adam Larsson pairing will see a lot of Crosby, but Darnell Nurse/Eric Gryba will likely see him as well. Nurse’s size and skating ability make him the best matchup against Crosby, but he’s only played 82 NHL games, so I’m not sure if Jim Johnson will want to have him out there exclusively. But in the future I could see it.
Cam Talbot returns to the net after a game off in Detroit. Puljujarvi might play, but won’t know until game time.
Matt Murray gets another start, and it looks like Mike Sullivan won’t just rotate his goalies, now that both are healthy, but rather go with who is playing well. Murray was excellent versus San Jose on Saturday and he’ll go tonight.
- McDavid only has two points in five games, but he isn’t tired. Far from it. He has set up teammates for numerous chances, but they haven’t finished, and he hasn’t buried his best chances, either. Even the best players in the game will go through a rough stretch, but McDavid is only 19 and he’s fine. He is playing 21:16/game thus far. Crosby played 20:45/game in his second NHL season. Evgeni Malkin played 21:19/game his second year. I don’t see his icetime being an issue at all. He isn’t an aging player who has lost a step.
— Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) February 11, 2013
- That pic occurred in February of 2013. Like most hockey fans, McDavid was thrilled to meet two of the NHL’s best players. He will be excited to play against Crosby. For the best players it isn’t about winning the matchup, but ensuring they are competitive against the best. They love the challenge, and Crosby will be just as excited to face McDavid. He’ll want to compete against his successor.
- Here is a statistical look at their first 58 NHL games.
McDavid vs Crosby
26-28-4 Team Rec 14-33-11
21 Goals 28
41 Assists 37
62 Points 65
19 PPPts 32
7 GWG 4
McDavid’s game were split over two seasons due to injuries and his GM was able to give him a much better supporting cast, hence the better record. It is interesting to note how many more EV points McDavid has had early in his career.
- The Oilers have the NHL’s best road PP and road PK. They are 6 for 18 on the PP (33.3%), while their PK has allowed only one goal on 19 penalty kills (94.7%). The Penguins home PK is only 80%, allowing five goals in 25 chances, but their home PP is very good, 36.4%, scoring eight goals on 22 opportunities.
- Evgeni Malkin leads the Penguins in PIMs with 18. He has taken the second most minor penalties in the NHL with nine. The Oilers Benoit Pouliot is tied for seventh with eight, but he hasn’t taken a penalty in the last six games.
- Many of you will remember SpiderMable – the 6-year-old cancer-fighting superhero who had her wish granted by the Children’s Wish Foundation to fight crime with Spider-Man in the City of Edmonton. SpiderMable The Film want to tell this incredible story about one little girl’s transformation from cancer fighter, to superhero to charity ambassador, but they need your help. The filmmakers have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help raise the necessary funds to complete film. For more info on SpiderMable’s story and to contribute, go to igg.me/at/spidermablethefilm.
- We are going on a road trip to Calgary on Saturday January 21st to watch the Oilers and Flames. Trip includes bus, hotel, pre-game party, tickets to the game and a post-game party. And you can sleep in on Sunday as the bus doesn’t leave until 11 a.m. We only have 10 tickets left. Click here for info and how to book your spot.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Tonight we’ll see the defending Stanley Cup champions vs. a team that has been stuck in eternal damnation for as long as we can remember. Wouldn’t a one-on-one game between Crosby and McDavid be more entertaining? It’ll be the first ever meeting between the two players, who have been utterly dominant in the early going. Crosby has 10 points, and at least one in all six games he’s played. McDavid came out of the gate with five goals and 12 points in his first eight games, and currently sits fourth in the NHL with 14 points, leading the Oil to a 9-3-1 start to the season.
For us Penguins fans, this is just another name to watch on the List of Crosby — a list that has seen some epic battles, with 87 usually coming out on top. The list includes: Ovechkin, Toews, Dubinsky, the entire Flyers organization. And now, Connor McDavid…
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just like 32 years ago these teams will be tied after regulation, but the 3-on-3 format allows for some end-to-end action and the Pens prevail 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Crosby scores. He has eight goals in six games and buries his ninth of the season.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ first NHL game was against Pittsburgh and he scored his first NHL goal. He scores his first EV goal of the season tonight against the Pens.