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Penguins Game 36 vs. Capitals: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



PIttsburgh Penguins game, vs. Washington Capitals

The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a roll, and an Eastern Conference wildcard spot could be within reach Tuesday as they take on the visiting Washington Capitals.

The Penguins (18-13-4) and Capitals (17-11-6) each have 40 points. The winner Tuesday would move into the second wildcard spot in the East if Tampa Bay loses at Winnipeg.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7:30 p.m.

Penguins Preview

The Penguins have won three games in a row and are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

After being inconsistent for most of the season, there seems to be a feeling that the Penguins, whose roster had a lot of offseason changes, are finally rounding into form.

They are getting strong goaltending from Tristan Jarry and Alex Nedeljkovic. After the stars have carried them a lot, they are now getting secondary scoring, including two goals by Lars Eller and one by Noel Acciari in their most recent game, a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday.

This game features the rivalry matchup of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby.

Plus, to kick off 2024, it seems that there is a strong chance the Penguins could get top-six winger Bryan Rust back from an upper-body injury. He has been practicing and is eligible to come off LTIR on Tuesday.

Read more:

Kingerski: Ugly is ‘Beautiful’; Karlsson Struggles, Others Improve

Kingerski: Penguins Getting Hot; Nedeljkovic Stuffs Islanders for 3-1 Win

The Capitals likewise have been seeking consistency all season, but they are going in the opposite direction of the Penguins lately. Washington has lost four in a row (0-0-2) and was 4-5-4 in December.

Saturday, the Capitals erased a two-goal deficit only to lose in a shootout 3-2 against the Nashville Predators.

What’s more, Ovechkin is tied for the team lead with 21 points but has just seven goals. He has one point, a goal, over the past four games.

Expected Penguins Lines

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell

Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust

Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter


Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang

Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson

John Ludvig-Chad Ruhwedel


Tristan Jarry

Alex Nedeljkovic

Capitals Expected Lines

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson

Aliaksei Protas-Connor McMichael-Anthony Mantha

Hendrix Lapierre-Dylan Strome-Matthew Phillips

Beck Malenstyn-Nic Dowd-Nicolas-Aube-Kubel


Martin Fehervary-John Carlson

Rasmus Sandin-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Joel Edmundson-Ethan Bear


Darcy Kuemper

Hunter Shepard

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 13.4%, 27th

Penguins penalty kill: 82.1%, 11th

Capitals power play: 11.5%, 30th

Capitals penalty kill: 82.1%, 11th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins have points in seven straight home games (6-0-1).

In 66 head-to-head matchups between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the Penguins are 39-23-4. In those 66 games, Crosby has 88 points (30 goals, 58 assists), Ovechkin, 63 points (34 goals, 29 assists).

Valtteri Puustinen has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 11 career games. That’s 10th most in team history for any player through 11 games.

The Penguins won the teams’ first meeting of the season 4-0 on Oct. 13 and have a four-game point streak (3-0-1) against the Captials.

Reilly Smith is scheduled to appear in his 800th NHL game.

Jake Guentzel has 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) with two game-winning goals in 24 career games against the Capitals.

Sidney Crosby has 1,538 points, one shy of tying Joe Thornton for 12th in NHL history.

The Penguins’ 92 goals against are tied for fourth fewest in the league, and their .915 save percentage ranks second.

How to Watch

TV: Streaming only on ESPN+ and Hulu

Radio: 105.9 FM The X