SUN Hockey Pool

Will the Kid still be hot tonight?

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

He's one of the most offensively gifted players in the game.

And for the first time since exploding onto the scene three years ago, Sidney Crosby will play in Edmonton.

"It's kind of weird, he's my age still," said Oilers rookie Andrew Cogliano.

"But it's pretty exciting, he's kind of the poster boy of the league and he's one of the best players.

"It's going to be fun, you always want to see how guys are and you always look forward to playing guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Sakic, and it's going to be good to play a guy like him."

This is the second time the Oilers have gone up against the Penguins since Crosby joined the league.

HORCOFF HAT-TRICK

The first encounter took place in Pittsburgh after the lockout. Shawn Horcoff scored all three goals and the Oilers managed to keep Crosby off the scoresheet in a 3-1 victory.

Last year the two teams didn't face each other.

"You don't want to be in too much awe of him or think he's too good," Cogliano said. "But it's going to be pretty special. It's going to be fun to play a guy like him. You see a lot of him on TV and now we're getting the opportunity to play against him."

Crosby's heading into the game having scored 14 goals and adding 23 assists in 26 games this season.

A year ago, he finished with 120 points to become the youngest scoring champion in league history, won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, was the Lester B. Pearson award winner and led the Penguins to their first playoff berth in six seasons.

"It's going to be another big night at Rexall," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "Everybody is pumped up, you can just tell by the demand for the tickets that I'm getting. All the kids are excited, all the minor hockey kids are really excited to be able to see us attempt to shut down Sidney and his line.

"But it's great for the game to have a player of that magnitude at that age."

This is the first time Crosby has played in Western Canada. The stop in Edmonton is followed by games in Calgary and Vancouver.

"This will be the first time I get a chance to play against him in the NHL," said Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid. "I played against him in the World Junior Championships and it was very tough to play against him.

"He's very skilled. He's got good hands, good vision, it's going to be tough. You have to be really aware when he's on the ice. It's going to be a good test for our defence."

SUPPORTING CAST

Along with Crosby, the Penguins also boast the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Petr Sykora, who too can put up impressive offensive numbers.

Gonchar and Malkin have combined for 54 points this season and Sykora has nine goals.

But it's Crosby who stirs the drink, and the one everybody is coming out to see.

"It's really exciting," said Oilers rookie Sam Gagner. "You watch some of the stuff he's done over the last couple of years on the highlights and it's incredible for him to be able to produce so much at such a young age.

"It's exciting to play against him, but at the same time we have to try and approach this as any other game. We're playing the Pittsburgh Penguins and not just Sidney Crosby. They have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys that we have to watch for. Hopefully we'll be ready for it and we can keep this winning streak going."


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