Colorado Avalanche vs Pittsburgh Penguins – also known as the battle of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Nathan MacKinnon vs Sidney Crosby.
An early Stanley Cup sleeper, the Avalanche are the only undefeated team left in the league proving that they might not be a sleeper and are in fact a true contender. The Penguins on the other hand have been grinding it out. Losing players like Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad, Bryan Rust, and Alex Galchenyuk to early-season injury could’ve completely derailed their start but they’ve managed to keep it together and currently sit tied for second in the Metropolitan Division.
The real story tonight though is MacKinnon vs Crosby. Both players are playing fantastic hockey and are big reasons for their teams’ early success.
Let’s start with MacKinnon. After an eye-opening performance in the playoffs last year, he’s come flying out of the gate and sits tied for 14th in points among forwards. That might not seem very high for him but expect that to change as he continues to create chances at a high-rate.
His speed and vision make him so difficult to defend, especially of the rush where he forces defenders to back off of their blue-line giving him room to enter the zone under control and hold onto the puck until he finds the open play.
As for Crosby, he’s once again put the team on his back. His 10 points has him tied for 5th in the league among forwards and for his team to continue being successful he’ll need to remain at the top of his game.
Similar to MacKinnon, Crosby uses his speed to back off defenders but it’s his incredible edge work deep in the zone that gives him time to hold onto the puck and find an open teammate.
Crosby’s also not afraid to get to the front of the net and battle it out for high-quality shots. Year after year he’s performed at the highest level and his start this season hasn’t been any different.
Both MacKinnon and Crosby are game breakers who set the tone for their respective teams. Except some highlight reel plays from these two guys as they battle it out for the Cole Harbour bragging rights.
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)