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Alex Ovechkin thought it was kinda weird playing alongside Sidney Crosby, too

Alex Ovechkin thought it was kinda weird playing alongside Sidney Crosby, too

LOS ANGELES—For a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby put aside their rivalry and teamed up in the NHL All-Star Game as the Metropolitan Division’s top forward line.

The Metro won the 3-on-3 mini-tournament—and claimed the $1 million prize—but the results for the league's two marquee players were a bit of a mixed bag.

“It was fun,” the Caps’ captain said of skating with Crosby. “I think we had pretty good chances. We [were] not that sharp, but when we needed [to], we score goals and [got] a couple of assists.”

Ovechkin recorded a goal and an assist in the Metro’s 10-6 semifinal win over the Atlantic. But he did not record a shot—and was on the ice for two goals against—in his team's 4-3 championship win over the Pacific.

Crosby’s stats, meantime, were strikingly similar. A goal and an assist in the semis, a goose egg and a minus-2 in the championship.

Despite the uneven performance, Ovechkin said he had a blast—even if it felt a tad strange skating alongside No. 87.

“Yeah,” Ovechkin acknowledged, “but it was all about the fun.”

RELATED: Ovi says he's 'best friends' with Crosby?

Indeed, no rivalry elicits the same hype that Ovi vs. Sid does. Crosby holds a 24-14-3 edge in head-to-head regular season meetings with Ovechkin. Sid’s Penguins have also vanquished the Caps in the second round of the playoffs twice since 2009.

So it was notable that the two not only shared the same line on Sunday, but that cameras showed them talking numerous times throughout the weekend. During the skills competition Saturday, they compared notes about sticks. Prior to Sunday’s tourney, they discussed strategy.

“We just talk about how we’re going to play out there,” Ovechkin said. “If we’re [down] by one, what we’re going to do. It was just simple things, normal things. [Metro Coach Wayne] Gretzky came to us and said we’re going to play together so we have to have chemistry and we have to understand a little bit about how we have to move out there.”

Crosby said the chats came naturally.

“We’re here, we love the game,” the Penguins’ captain said. “This is a great experience from Friday until the game today. We just enjoyed ourselves.  We didn’t have to try to do that. Playing on the same team, going through the skills and all that stuff, it was kinda just easy for that to happen.”

But that doesn’t mean the two will be hanging out again anytime soon.

Asked if they’re buddies now, Ovechkin shrugged and cracked, “Um, yeah, best friends. How I always said.”

At the start of the semifinal game, Ovi and Sid looked like a couple of stars who had never played with one another. Crosby missed Ovechkin on a 2-on-1. A shift later, they failed to connect again.

“I couldn’t even find my breath after the first couple of shifts because you go back and forth back and forth,” Ovechkin said. “It was Jesus Christ, like, are we in a playoff game or all-star game? But after that, you find a rhythm and then you’re fine.”

By the second half of the semifinal, though, they seemed to settle into a groove. Crosby finished a pass from Justin Faulk to put the Metro ahead 7-5 late. Ovechkin recorded the secondary assist.

Then as time wound down, Ovechkin tapped a cross-ice pass from Crosby past Tuukka Rask to provide the final margin.

In the final, both got shut out points-wise. Still, they accomplished what they had set out to do: help lift the Metro to a win, a year after the division got bounced in the semis.    

“You always want to win; it’s fun,” Ovechkin said. “We sacrificed our body out there, blocking shots. ...When we [were] in the final, we [said] we have to go, we have to push, we’re going to take it.”

Asked if the prize money served as motivation, Ovi joked:  “If someone is going to give you one million bucks to share and to split and you’re close, why not?”

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin, Crosby team up for Metropolitan Division

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How to Watch: Maple Leafs at Capitals: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

How to Watch: Maple Leafs at Capitals: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Sitting firmly at third place in their respective divisions, the Capitals and Maple Leafs are both eager to grab another win for themselves in this classic Atlantic vs Metropolitan division matchup. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Wednesday night game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.

CAPITALS vs. MAPLE LEAFS HOW TO WATCH

What: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals, Game 8 of the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs Maple Leafs game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs Maple Leafs on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS VS MAPLE LEAFS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals vs Maple Leafs

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

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There’s no setback, but just when Michal Kempny will return remains uncertain

There’s no setback, but just when Michal Kempny will return remains uncertain

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Around the time when the Colorado Avalanche scored its fourth goal to take a 4-0 lead on Monday, the Twitter questions started rolling in. “When is Michal Kempny coming back?”

The Caps’ top-pair left defenseman has yet to play this season after tearing his hamstring in March. His loss was a major factor in the team’s first-round defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs and has led to inconsistent defensive play to start the season.

But the Caps’ defense is going to have to figure out how to defend against the star-studded Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday without Kempny as head coach Todd Reirden declared after practice on Tuesday that Kempny will not play.

“We're getting close,” Reirden said. “That's at least today's report on him without having spoken to our trainer or team doctor anything right now. I just know that he took another step in terms of visually from me that he is getting closer and closer to game action.”

At the start of training camp, the hope was that Kempny would be able to return for the start of the season. He was not. The team elected not to place him on long-term injured reserve which requires a player to miss 10 games. Now seven games into the season, Kempny’s timetable remains uncertain.

When asked if he was hopeful Kempny could return for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, Reirden did not sound all that confident.

“I am, yeah. I mean, I'm hopeful every time I walk into the training room.”

For the timeline to keep getting pushed back has raised concerns over whether Kempny has suffered a setback in his recovery, but Reirden insists that is not the case.

“There's not nothing to be concerned about,” he said. “If there was a setback I would let you know. There isn't one. He's going on the path he's supposed to be going on and many other people would have this as a longer-term injury than it already has been so he's doing great.”

Kempny was cleared for contact on Oct. 2. and has been a full participant at practice ever since. Getting him back to a point where the doctors and the team can feel comfortable about getting him into the lineup, however, has proven difficult.

Even after losing four of their first seven games to start the season including all three home games, Reirden says the team is committed to remaining patient and cautious with Kempny’s recovery.

“It's making the choice that's the right thing for our organization and for Michal,” he said. “I think that we've been really happy with the development of this player since we got him and saw the strides he made last year and then we were able to realize how big of a loss he would be when we didn't have him. I think that doing anything now to set him up for anything less than success is not worth it. We have to view the risk versus reward and there won't be any risk, it will be that he is 100-percent cleared, ready to go and ready to play.”