While most in hockey thought the Sidney Crosby-Alexander Ovechkin rivalry hit its peak in 2009, the battle between hockey's two most recognizable stars may be back on after Crosby matched Ovechkin's scoreless exit from the postseason with a pointsless series loss of his own.
"Remember how they went toe to toe in the in 2009 playoffs and lit up the scoreboard?" said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. "This was like that but completely opposite. I'll never forget it. Unfortunately."
Hockey fans immediately began debating which star had a less impressive exit: Ovechkin going pointsless over the final five games of a first round series against the Rangers, despite holding a two games to one lead, or Crosby being held without a point as his stacked Penguins were swept out of the conference finals by the Bruins.
NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury said the rekindled rivalry will be huge for hockey.
"These are the top two names in the sport and whenever they're on the same level, that's a positive for the NHL," he said. "Also, it will grow the sport in many other cities that will beat the Capitals and Penguins in the playoffs."
Despite the comparisons, Ovechkin denied that Crosby is on his level.
"He's won a Cup. He scored the gold medal-winning goal for his home country in the Olympics," said Ovechkin. "This one playoff series isn't nothing, but he has many failures to go to get near me."