Crosby vs. Ovechkin: 13 years of rivalry

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs for only the second time when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals begin their second-round series on Thursday (CBC, CBC Sports app, 8 p.m. ET).

The two stars will be tethered forever. They entered the NHL simultaneously as can't-miss prospects in 2005 after building a compelling rivalry at world junior tournaments, and have since faced off several times internationally along with one meeting in the NHL playoffs.

Here's a look at their rivalry over the last 13 years.


A 17-year-old Ovechkin shows how special a player he is in helping Russia win the world junior title with a 3-2 victory over Canada in the final in Halifax.

Crosby is only 15 at the time and does not play for Canada, but he already has ties to the team. When Canada held a summer camp in Halifax the previous summer, he travelled in from his Cole Harbour, N.S., home, hanging out and keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings.


Crosby makes the Canadian junior team but he and Ovechkin do not meet in the tournament as Finland knocks out Russia in the quarter-finals. Canada loses to the United States in a heartbreaker in the gold-medal final.



Crosby celebrated Canada's victory over Ovechkin's Russian team in the 2005 world junior final. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

With NHL players in the midst of a season-long lockout, all eyes turn to the world juniors in Grand Forks, N.D. Russia and Canada meet in the gold-medal final, with Canada dominating in a 6-1 win. Ovechkin piles up 11 points in the tournament — two off Patrice Bergeron's leading total — while Crosby has nine.

A few months later, Ovechkin scores Russia's final goal in a 4-3 loss to Canada in the world championship semifinals in Austria, while Crosby and his QMJHL Rimouski Oceanic lose the Memorial Cup final to the London Knights.


Crosby and Ovechkin both fail to make the NHL playoffs in their rookie season and head to the world championship in Latvia. A head-to-head showdown doesn't materialize as Russia is eliminated in the quarter-finals with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Czech Republic, while Canada is beaten in the semifinals 5-4 by Sweden.


Ovechkin returns to the world championship after Washington again misses the playoffs, and is devastated when Russia loses its semifinal to Finland and Canada goes on to win the tournament. Crosby gets his first taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Penguins are knocked out in five games by the Ottawa Senators in the first round.



Ovechkin won his first of three world titles in 2008 in Quebec City. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

The Penguins exact revenge with a first-round sweep of Ottawa and make it all the way to the Stanley Cup final, but Crosby and his teammates are left wanting more as the Detroit Red Wings beat them in six games.

The Capitals lose a tough seven-game series against the Philadelphia Flyers, but Ovechkin travels to Quebec City in time to help Russia win the world championship with a 5-4 overtime victory over Canada. Ovechkin assists on two goals, including Ilya Kovalchuk's winner.


Ovechkin and Crosby finally meet in the NHL playoffs when Washington and Pittsburgh make it to the second round. Both stars score their first career playoff hat tricks in a memorable Game 2. The Capitals jump out to a two-games-to-none lead, but the Penguins battle back to take the series in seven games. Ovechkin can take some solace in the fact that his 14 points in the series top Crosby's 13.


A few months before the Capitals (in the first round) and the Penguins (in the second round) are upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs, Canada hammers Russia 7-3 in the Olympic quarter-finals in Vancouver. Crosby, of course, goes on to score the golden goal in overtime against the United States in the final.

Later that spring, Ovechkin and Russia lose to the Czech Republic in the gold-medal final at the world championship in Germany.


The Tampa Bay Lightning eliminate the Penguins in the first round and the Capitals in the second. Ovechkin returns to the world championship in Slovakia, but Russia is beaten by the Czechs in the bronze-medal match.


The Penguins are first-round victims of the Flyers, while the Capitals fall to the New York Rangers in seven games in the second round. Ovechkin goes on to win his second world championship title a few weeks later.


The Rangers beat the Capitals again, this time in the first round, and Pittsburgh is swept in the East final by the Boston Bruins. Ovechkin, once again, plays in the world championship, but Russia is beaten in the quarter-finals by the United States.


Crosby helps Canada win gold at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but the champions never meet Russia in the tournament. Ovechkin and his teammates are humiliated when they're defeated on home ice in the quarter-finals by Finland.

A few months later, the Penguins are eliminated in the second round by the Rangers, while the Capitals fail to make the playoffs. But Ovechkin finds a way to salvage something with his third world championship with Russia that spring.


Crosby and Ovechkin find themselves back at the world championship after the Rangers knock out the Penguins in the first round and the Capitals in the second round.

Canada routs Russia 6-1 in the final and Crosby becomes the 26th member of the Triple Gold Club — players who have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and a world championship in their careers.

So, entering this year's playoff showdown, here's how the scorecard reads in terms of titles won by Crosby and Ovechkin:


  • 2005 world junior championship
  • 2009 Stanley Cup
  • 2010 Olympic gold
  • 2014 Olympic gold
  • 2015 world championship


  • 2003 world junior championship
  • 2008 world championship
  • 2012 world championship
  • 2014 world championship

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