The Washington Times - February 7, 2013, 11:34AM

PITTSBURGH | This isn’t the heyday of the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. That was 2009. It’s 2013 and Ovechkin has no even-strength goals through the Caps’ first 10 games.

Crosby said he was “a little bit” surprised by Ovechkin’s slow start.

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“I’ve watched a couple games and I think he’s had some good chances and the puck hasn’t gone in,” Crosby said Thursday. “I think that obviously there’s always expectations, there’s a lot of eyes on him. There’s pressure that comes with that, but I think that he’s still shooting the puck well, still creating some good chances. Someone you definitely have to be aware of. I don’t see that as a big problem for him. I think he’s gonna generate chances and I’m sure eventually the points will come.”

Crosby has four goals and 10 assists for a team-high 14 points. Ovechkin is tied for fourth on the Caps with five points (two power-play goals and three assists).

But Pittsburgh’s captain isn’t kicking Ovechkin while he’s down.

“With his shot I think you’re always dangerous no matter where he is in the offensive zone,” Crosby said. “He’s a big guy, he’s got a lot of speed, so he creates chances and he did a good job last game, I thought. He’s probably gonna get his chances. You just got to make sure you know where he is on the ice and try and take away that big shot.”

Going into Thursday night’s game, Crosby was asked if playing against Ovechkin brought extra juice. In his opinion it still does.

It brings out the best in everyone: I think from both sides, for myself, I’m sure him,” Crosby said. “I think both teams like playing against each other. Everyone understands it’s a bigger stage and a few more eyes are watching, so I think you always get up for [these games].”