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Rivalry Renewed; Penguins Game 61 vs. Capitals: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins game, Washington Capitals

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ game Thursday against the visiting Washington Capitals won’t lack for drama. There’ s the usual matchup between future Hall of Famers Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin when these longtime rivals meet.

There’s also the tension surrounding both teams heading into Friday’s NHL trade deadline.

Perhaps at the top of the list, though, is the standings implications. The Penguins (28-24-8) and Capitals (28-23-9) are both longer shots to make the playoffs, but they are neck-and-neck. You can check the hockey odds. Each has played 61 games, and Washington has one more point than the Penguins.

Penguins Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

Following a frustrating 1-3 western road trip that concluded with three straight losses, the Penguins came home and downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Tuesday with forward lines that were scrambled from previous games.

The Penguins remain eight points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division and out of an Eastern Conference wildcard spot.

They are dealing with several injuries in addition to trade target Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, the top-line wingers who already were out of the lineup.

Tuesday, the Penguins played without fourth-line forwards Noel Acciari and Jansen Harkins, who have unspecified injuries. They lost forward Drew O’Connor in the second period because of a concussion.

Acciari and Harkins participated in Thursday’s morning skate. O’Connor did not.

Read more

Kingerski: Top 3 Trade Spots for Jake Guentzel; Potential Returns

Molinari: So You’re Saying There’s a Chance for Penguins…

The Capitals made one of the first notable trades this week, sending forward Anthony Mantha to Vegas for draft picks. They followed that by sending defenseman Joel Edmundson to Toronto on Thursday morning in a trade for draft picks.

Washington was on a 5-1-1 surge before stumbling to a 5-2 loss Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes. Capitals forward Max Pacioretty said his team’s first two periods that game “were some of the worst since I’ve been here.”

The Capitals have not played since that game.

Expected Penguins Lines

Lars Eller-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell

Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Valttieri Puustinen

Jesse Pljujarvi-Noel Acciari-Emil Bemstrom

Jansen Harkins-Jeff Carter-Jonathan Gruden


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Graves-Chad Ruhwedel


Tristan Jarry

Alex Nedeljkovic

Expected Capitals Lines

Alex Ovechkin-Hendrix Lapierre-Aliaksei Protas

Max Pacioretty-Connor McMichael-Tom Wilson

Ivan Miroschichenko-Dylan Strome-Sonny Milano

Beck Malenstyn-Michael Sgarbossa-Nicolas Aube-Kubel


Trevor van Riemsdyk-John Carlson

Rasmus Sandin-Nick Jensen

Ethan Bear-Alexander Alexeyev


Charlie Lindgren

Darcy Kuemper

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 15.4%, 28th

Penguins penalty kill: 82.3%, 6th

Capitals power play: 18.8%, 23rd

Capitals penalty kill: 79.4%, 16th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins are 1-1-0 against Washington this season, a 4-0 road win Oct. 13 on Tristan Jarry’s 19-save shutout, two goals from Sidney Crosby and one each from Evgeni Malkin and Reilly Smith, and a 4-3 loss at home Jan. 2 with goals from Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Rickard Rakell.

The Penguins are 3-1-1 in their past five games against the Capitals.

The Penguins have power-play goals in five of their past seven games, going 7 for 24, 29.2% in that stretch.

Sidney Crosby has 90 points (31 goals, 59 assists) in 69 career games against Washington and has 31 multiple-point games in the rivalry.

Evgeni Malkin has 78 points (26 goals, 52 assists) in 60 career games against the Capitals.

In 67 head-to-head games between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the Penguins are 39-24-4. Crosby has 90 points in those games, Ovechkin 64 points.

The Penguins are 3-0-1 in their past four home games.

Rickard Rakell is set to play in his 700th career game.

Jeff Carter notched his team-leading fourth game-winning goal Tuesday.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X