The two superstar centres are set to meet for the first time in 2019-20 on Saturday for a matinee at PPG Paints Arena – and history suggests it’ll be a fan-friendly affair.
McDavid and Crosby rank first and fourth, respectively, in NHL scoring since McDavid entered the league in 2015-16. During that time, McDavid has earned one Hart Trophy, two Ted Lindsays and two scoring titles, while Crosby added two more Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythes and a second “Rocket” Richard to his massive career trophy case.
Crosby has 19 points in 16 career games against the Oilers, while McDavid has 10 points in six career games versus the Pens. Interestingly (or not) Crosby averages less ice-time per game against the Oilers than he does against any other team, while the opposite is true of McDavid. The Pens are the only team against which McDavid, who recently played in his 300th career game, averages more than 24 minutes per game.
Both players, unsurprisingly, are off to hot starts once again in 2019-20. McDavid sits tied for third in the league with 23 points in 14 games with Crosby not too far behind at 17 points in 13 games so far.
With the first of two possible Crosby-McDavid showdowns this season going down this weekend – the Pens and Oilers also meet Dec. 20 at Rogers Place – we’ve decided to look back at how each Crosby vs. McDavid game has gone so far.
EDM @ PIT – Nov. 8, 2016
Final score: Penguins 4, Oilers 3
As a rookie in 2015-16, McDavid broke his clavicle a few days before his first scheduled encounter with Crosby and the Pens and he was still recovering for the second scheduled meeting that season, so he never faced Crosby as an 18-year-old.
Also, the Crosby-captained Team Canada and the ultra-popular McDavid-led Team North America never met at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. So, despite making his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2015, McDavid didn’t go up against Crosby until the 2016-17 campaign.
McDavid showed out in his first matchup with Crosby, registering an assist on each of Edmonton’s three goals.
Despite scoring eight goals through his first six games of the season, Crosby was held pointless and struggled in the faceoff circle this night against the Oilers but his team came out on top, scoring two in the third period for a come-from-behind win in regulation.
2017 NHL All-Star Game – Jan. 29, 2017
Final score: Metropolitan 4, Pacific 3
The second time the two superstars faced off against one another on NHL ice was during the 2017 All-Star Game festivities when Crosby represented the Metropolitan Division and McDavid the Pacific.
Crosby and McDavid performed well at the skills competition the day before the game. Both won their matchup during the accuracy shooting competition and McDavid shockingly had the best time in the fastest skater event.
In the actual games, Crosby had a goal and an assist when the Metropolitan team beat the Atlantic Division squad. McDavid had a goal and two assists as the Pacific blew out the Central. McDavid scored in the final but just like in their first NHL encounter, Crosby was scoreless yet his team won 4-3.
PIT @ EDM – March 10, 2017
Final score: Penguins 3, Oilers 2 (SO)
The second official 87 vs. 97 showdown began with each registering a quality scoring chance on the opening shift.
McDavid had nine shots in the game and scored his 23rd of the season in the third period that tied the game at two goals apiece. Overtime solved nothing so it went to a shootout where they ended up trading goals. Crosby scored on Cam Talbot blocker-side before McDavid beat Marc-Andre Fleury post-in to keep his team alive. Phil Kessel won it for the Pens to sweep the season series.
EDM @ PIT – Oct. 24, 2017
Final score: Penguins 2, Oilers 1 (OT)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. McDavid scored for the Oilers, Crosby was left off the scoresheet yet his Penguins emerged with a one-goal win that required extra time and Phil the Thrill notched the game-winner – on a breakaway no less.
PIT @ EDM – Nov. 1, 2017
Final score: Penguins 3, Oilers 2
One week after Kessel’s OT winner the teams met again, this time in Alberta. Unlike their previous three NHL games (four including the All-Star Game), Crosby managed to register a point in this one. Sid helped set up a Conor Sheary goal and McDavid assisted on both of his team’s goals in another losing effort. Crosby’s assist and McDavid’s second apple both were lovely backhand feeds.
PIT @ EDM – Oct. 23, 2018
Final score: Penguins 6, Oilers 5 (OT)
This one early last season is the best Crosby vs. McDavid game to date.
Crosby deflected in a Kris Letang pass to open the scoring midway through the first period for his first career goal against the Oilers with McDavid in the lineup. The Oilers captain kept his team afloat with a goal and assist and these teams went into overtime for the third time in as many seasons.
The game ended with Crosby scoring one of the best goals of his career, which is saying a lot.
EDM @ PIT – Feb. 13, 2019
Final score: Penguins 3, Oilers 1
Their most recent meeting is the only game that was decided by more than one goal. Crosby and McDavid each recorded an assist in this one with McDavid leading all forwards in ice-time with 25:06 played.
The signature moment from this game was McDavid getting stopped on a penalty shot late in the second period. McDavid patiently skated in on Matt Murray but the Penguins netminder flashed the leather.
“It’s a great challenge,” Crosby said after the game when asked what it’s like going one-on-one with McDavid. “He’s pretty tough to defend. A lot of times you can be in good spots and good positionally but with his speed if you’re even you’re probably in trouble.”
Head-to-head stats excluding the All-Star Game…
So, as you can see above, McDavid often wins the battle but Crosby always wins the war.
Will that continue to be the case this season? Tune into Sportsnet early on Saturday to find out.