ALEX OVECHKIN AND THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS HOST SIDNEY CROSBY AND THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS ON NBC SPORTS’ “NHL GAME OF THE WEEK” SUNDAY AT NOON ET
“This is similar to when Edmonton and Pittsburgh used to get together and you had Wayne Gretzky against Mario Lemieux.” – NBC’s Emrick
“It’s one of those matchups that come around not as often as we like.” – NBC’s Olyczyk
NEW YORK – Feb. 1, 2010 – Alex Ovechkin and the surging Washington Capitals host Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on the NHL “Game of the Week” this Sunday at Noon ET on NBC Sports.
Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site at Verizon Center.
Ovechkin and Crosby last spring delighted the sports world with a memorable Eastern Conference seven-game playoff series, including both superstars recording a hat trick in Game 2, that elevated what had been a rivalry between individuals into what many are calling the NHL’s best current team rivalry.
On Jan. 21 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, the Capitals defeated the Penguins, 6-3, in the first meeting between the two teams of the season. Ovechkin scored two goals, while Crosby had one.
Ovechkin ranks second in the league with 76 points scored, including 35 goals (#2 in NHL), while Crosby is tied for third in the league with 68 points, including 34 goals (T-#3 NHL).
The Capitals have won 10 consecutive games, matching the longest winning streak in team history (Jan. 27-Feb. 18, 1984). The team’s 80 points rank first in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are fourth in the East with 69 points. The game will be the Penguins third consecutive game on a Sunday on NBC Sports. They defeated Philadelphia, 2-1, on the road on Jan. 24 and beat the Red Wings yesterday, 2-1 in a shootout.
OLCZYK ON OVECHKIN-CROSBY: “I don’t think we can make enough of it. It’s one of those matchups that come around not as often as we like. It speaks to the individuals, the superstar status that both these players have.”
EMRICK ON OVECHKIN-CROSBY: “This is similar to when Edmonton and Pittsburgh used to get together and you had Wayne Gretzky against Mario Lemieux. But they met so infrequently. Ovechkin and Crosby meet four times in the regular season plus seven games in last year’s playoffs. People ask me, ‘Who is the best?’ I say, ‘I don’t care. I’m just glad they’re both in the same solar system so we get to watch them.’”
OLCZYK ON THE CAPITALS SURGE: “It seems that the Washington Capitals are playing with a ton of confidence. Last year, they pushed the Penguins to the brink of elimination in Game 7 at home. They have a great opportunity to have home ice come playoff time.”
EMRICK ON THE TWO TEAMS: “Washington has become an elite team, so you have one elite team meeting another with Pittsburgh being the defending champions.”
CLOSE GAMES: All four of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have been decided by one goal and three needed extra time to determine a winner. Yesterday, the Penguins defeated the Red Wings in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, 2-1, via an overtime shootout. Last week, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, on a power-play goal by Matt Cooke with 1:47 remaining. In NBC’s inaugural “Game of the Week” on Jan. 17, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in Detroit. The Boston Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1, at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
OLYMPIANS IN THE GAME: Sunday’s game features 10 players, including five Russians, who will compete for their respective Olympic teams in Vancouver in February.
Pittsburgh, D Brooks Orpik
Pittsburgh, F Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh, G Marc-Andre Fleury
Washington, F Tomas Fleischmann
Pittsburgh, D Sergei Gonchar
Pittsburgh, F Evgeni Malkin
Washington, F Alex Ovechkin
Washington, G Semyon Varlamov
Washington, F Alexander Semin
Washington, F Nicklas Backstrom
NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will again offer “Star-cam” this season, tracking a player from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.
FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: Again this year, “Game of the Week” broadcasts will consistently start at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for Feb. 7 and Apr. 11, Noon ET start times). For the third straight season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC Sports will announce one of those games as the “Game of the Week” to be broadcast during the NBC Sports window. The other games will remain available to the teams’ regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC Sports’ broadcast window.
2010 NHL GAME OF THE WEEK REGULAR-SEASON FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
(All Games Announced At Least 13 Days Prior)
Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:00 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh @ Washington (Flexed)
Sunday, Mar. 7, 12:30 p.m. ET
Boston @ Pittsburgh
Detroit @ Chicago
Carolina @ Atlanta
Sunday, Mar. 14, 12:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia @ New York Rangers
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay
Colorado @ Dallas
Washington @ Chicago
Sunday, Mar. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Rangers @ Boston
Buffalo @ Carolina
Sunday, Apr. 4, 12:30 p.m. ET
Detroit @ Philadelphia
Sunday, Apr. 11, 12:00 p.m. ET
Boston @ Washington
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia
Detroit @ Chicago