4. Sid vs. Ovie: Matching playoff hat tricks
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals have met in the playoffs three times over Ovechkin’s career. Every series is full of entertainment, but the Capitals have never beat the Penguins. In 2009, during the Eastern Conference semifinals, the two rivals squared off once again. Ovechkin was coming off a regular season in which he scored 56 goals. In the first round of the playoffs, the Capitals beat the Rangers in seven games and the Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. The Capitals won Game 1 by a score of 3-2. Setting the stage for Game 2 in Washington.
Crosby opened the scoring about halfway through the first period, Ovechkin grabbed his first of the night early in the second. Crosby responded to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead going into the third period. Ovechkin then took the game over scoring on his patented one-timer from the circle to give Washington a 3-2 lead. Only a few minutes later Ovechkin blew a perfect shot through the defenseman’s legs and past Marc Andre Fleury to make it 4-2 and seal the game for the Capitals, giving Ovechkin his first playoff hat trick. The game looked over, but it wasn’t done over yet. The Penguins spent the last two minutes in the Washington zone looking to come back when Crosby completed his hat trick with less than a minute left.
For both players, it was their first career playoff hat trick. It further linked the two players together forever. Ovechkin’s second and third goals are what he will always be remembered for, a lethal option on the power play and a blazing wrist shot. This specific hat trick will always be remembered as one of the highlights in what some call the greatest playoff series of the decade.