For the first time in the NHL, it’ll be Connor McDavid against Sidney Crosby.
McDavid, the first overall pick of the 2015 draft, has 14 points in 13 games for the 9-3-1 Edmonton Oilers. Crosby, taken first overall in 2005, has ten points in six games for the 8-2-2 Pittsburgh Penguins.
“His speed stands out the most. That allows him to do so many other things,” Crosby says of McDavid.
“Just how strong he is on his skates. When he’s down low, he protects the puck so well,” McDavid says of Crosby.
“I’m quite confident that both coaches and organizations aren’t going to make this about the individuals,” says Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “Our approach is going to be a team game. Obviously, two of the superstars in the game who are fun to watch. They’re great human beings and they create an ambassadorship for the National League.”
The two “generational” players have never gone head-to-head. McDavid was injured for both Oilers/Penguins games last season.
The game will also be Justin Schultz’s first against the Oilers. Edmonton traded him to Pittsburgh in February.
“I knew it was coming,” Schultz recalls. “Getting here, guys were great. It was a lot of fun.”
Schultz wound up winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins. “It was crazy. It was unbelievable to raise it and celebrate with my teammates and my family.”
The Oilers are closing out a five-game road trip. They’ve gone 2-1-1 on the trek so far.
Cam Talbot will start in goal after getting a break Sunday in Detroit. Winger Jesse Puljujarvi is a game time decision after suffering a leg injury Saturday against the Islanders.
The Oilers and Penguins are on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 3:30pm. The game starts at 5pm. (jrw)