Connor McDavid wins the battle, but Sydney Crosby wins the game in the first head-to-head meeting of the superstars.
The Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t keep anyone in suspense, as Connor McDavid and Sydney Crosby lined-up for the opening faceoff.
It is a matchup the fans wanted to see. The show put on by Crosby and McDavid was everything expected and then some. Unfortunately when the dust settled the Penguins picked up two points and moved up the league standings into second place.
Article continues below ...
The Oilers 4-3 loss left them tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for third overall.
Before the battle of the icons began, McDavid and Crosby said all the right things. That’s what they to do because that is how the statesmen treat the game.
On the ice it’s different.
McDavid finished with 3 points on the night.
The tale of the tape saw McDavid finish the night with three points, 18:53 in ice time and finished a plus three. Meanwhile, Crosby was held off the score sheet, finished the night even in plus/minus and 18:32 in ice time. They got two shots and lost more faceoffs than they won.
For personal statistics McDavid is the clear winner. By the end of the night, he is the league leader in assists and sits second to Winnipeg Jets Mark Sheifele in the Art Ross race. On the other hand, a pointless Crosby dropped to third place in goals scored.
McDavid wins hands down on an individual player. However, as stressed in pre-game talk, this is a team game. Crosby made his presence felt and is surrounded by players who work together to win games.
I am not saying the Oilers didn’t do that.
Crosby had no points, but made an impact.
But, the Penguins are the defending Stanley Cup champions. And as deep as the Oilers are, the Penguins are deeper. As disciplined as the Oilers are, the Penguins had more on the night.
The Penguins are the better team on this night earning the two points. They jumped into an early 1-0 lead, but found themselves down by a goal by the end of the second period. It goes back to depth and maybe consistency. Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins other superstar scored the game-tying goal and had more ice time than Crosby.
For the Oilers, Leon Draisaitl had a game he would rather forget. He was a minus 4 on the night, being on the ice for every Pittsburgh goal.
Not something to write home about.
McDavid’s playmaking skills were prominent as he helped Jordan Eberle score twice and blast his way out of a nine game scoring slump. McDavid also set up Patrick Maroon with a nifty tap-in at the edge of the crease. Eberle, Maroon, McDavid and Milan Lucic lead the team with five goals.
Crosby’s game got off on the wrong foot as he was a minus two going head to head with McDavid. So, maybe on that give a slight nod to McDavid.
Crosby’s defensive skills are underrated.
Crosby showed points and individual play are not enough to win a game. Crosby demonstrated his skills knocking down a Draisaitl clearing attempt and carried the puck into the Oilers’ zone. He fed Trevor Daley whose shot bounced off Patric Hornqvist’s skate, hit Carl Hagelin’s stick who scored.
The winning goal happened because Crosby out-worked three Oilers and got the puck to Conor Sheary. Cam Talbot made the initial stop, but the Oilers Benoit Pouliot shot the rebound into his own net.
On this night give the points to McDavid, but the impact goes to Crosby.