It’s finally here. The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Washington Capitals with Tom Wilson, in Washington. And, it appears Patric Hornqvist could return to the Penguins lines.
The Penguins (15-12-6) take a trip to “ Hollywood for ugly people” on Wednesday where the Washington Capitals (20-9-3) await a matchup that ignites another chapter to a well-documented rivalry. Washington is 12-2-0 in their last 14 games. Captain Alex Ovechkin has a point in each of those games.
Matt Murray appears to be the Penguins starting goalie, tonight.
The Penguins are two points and two wins behind the New York Islanders for 3rd in the Metropolitan Division and also three points back of Montreal for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins will be busy in the coming days as Wednesday marks the first tilt of back-to-back games and the first of three in the next four days.
The Penguins are hoping to find their footing after a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Monday. The Penguins started the game hot with two goals by Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust in the first period but blew another two-goal lead. A stellar goaltending effort by John Gibson and two-point efforts from centers Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique fueled the comeback for Anaheim.
Former Penguins forward Daniel Sprong returned to Pittsburgh and tallied a power-play assist.
Casey DeSmith started in net for the Penguins and surrendered three goals on 35 shots. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each added an assist in the loss.
The Washington Capitals rode a strong goaltending effort from back up goaltender Phoenix Copley to a 4-3 Shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres, Saturday. Ovechkin tallied a goal ( 29) in regulation and netted the shootout winner in the fourth round of shooters. Copley stopped 26 of 29 shots and three of the four shooters he faced.
Ovechkin has a personal best 14-game scoring streak and was the most recent NHL First Star of the Week. Evgeny Kuznetsov also has an eight-game assist streak.
Washington outshot the Sabres 38-29 and outhit them 32-16. Brett Connelly (7) and Jakub Vrana (10) had goals for Washington. Jack Eichel (11,12) and Rasmus Dahlin (3) had the Sabres goals.
The season series between the Penguins and the Capitals is tied 1-1 with the Penguins winning Oct. 4th, 7-6. The Capitals won the Nov. 7th matchup, 2-1.
The all-time series between the Capitals and Penguins favors Pittsburgh 148–125–16 with a 40-28 record in playoff matchups.
Ovechkin has faced Crosby and the Penguins 72 times, including the playoffs. All-time, he has 83 points (46g, 37a) in those games. Sidney Crosby has 96 points (34g, 62a). The Penguins have won 41 of the 72 head-to-head matchups.
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg. IR)
Dominik Simon (Lower Body. IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
The preview was written by Michael Dummer. Pittsburgh Hockey Now is pleased to welcome Michael to the PHN writing staff. Michael is a young media professional and graduate of Waynesburg University. In addition to his upcoming work with PHN, Michael is also working full-time for a major professional sports league network.