Bare Knuckles. Penguins v. Capitals, Game 48: Lines, Notes & How to Watch
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It is a battle for playoff seeding and could soon be a battle for a playoff berth. The long-time rivals, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, one pursuing all-time greatness, the other the all-time goals record. The Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Washington Capitals Thursday at Capital One Arena.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m.
It is the second of three meetings this season. The teams will not meet again until March 25 in Pittsburgh.
The two oldest teams in the NHL are locked in a battle for the Eastern Conference wild-card spots. Each team has 56 points, though the Penguins will play Game No. 48 Thursday while the Capitals play Game No. 51.
The Penguins have won two in a row but given up 84 shots to the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers over those two games. The Penguins beat Florida 7-6 in OT Tuesday. Their fourth OT win in 12 games.
Kris Letang returned to the lineup in an emotional game — the first since he left the lineup on Dec. 28 and the first since his father passed away early in the new year. Letang had two goals and two assists, including the game-winner.
The Penguins’ power play was 3-for-5, scoring three straight goals, including Letang’s goal in overtime.
Washington is also been struggling since the NHL holiday break. They have just four wins in their last 10 games and have lost two in a row.
Noted Capitals tough guy and Penguins killer Tom Wilson recently returned from offseason ACL surgery but is a game-time decision after limping off the ice against the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday. Wilson blocked a shot and left the game.
Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for Washington. Casey DeSmith will go for the Penguins.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Capitals Lines, Per Washington Hockey Now:
Penguins Power Play: 22.2%, 15th
Penguins Penalty Kill: 81.2%, 9th
Capitals Power Play: 81.6%, 7th
Capital Penalty Kill: 83.6%, 7th
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
The Penguins have won four of the last five games at Capital One Arena.
Jake Guentzel has recorded 24 points (10-14-24) versus the Capitals with two game-winning goals in 21 games.
Sidney Crosby (379) is one even-strength goal away from surpassing Stan Mikita (379) for 24th place on the NHL’s all-time even-strength goals list.
The 2022-23 season marks the 18th season that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin face off. The two have taken part in 63 head-to-head matchups. Crosby and the Penguins are 37-23-3 against Ovechkin and the Capitals.
Evgeni Malkin had a three-point game in three of his last four games.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X