Dec. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
Radio: WTNT 570 AM
Washington Capitals (13-10-6)
Pittsburgh Penguins (12-11-5)
The Pittsburgh Penguins waddle into Washington for their first visit of the season to Verizon Center. The Caps play host to the Flightless Fowl on Monday at 7 p.m.
For days the game has been hyped as a duel between Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, but that’s just the hype. Monday’s contest really pits a pair of upstart teams looking to move up the standings and into playoff contention. As good as the two young stars are, they’ll be on the ice for only about a third of the game. And what’s most important to both the Caps and the Pens is picking up two points against an Eastern Conference rival.
This is the first time the Caps and Penguins have met while both teams have been above .500 since Oct. 28, 2002. The Caps were 4-3-1 when that game started while the Pens were 4-2-2. Dainius Zubrus and Steve Eminger are the only Caps who played in that game who are still in the Washington organization. None of the Pens players who dressed that night is still drawing a paycheck from Pittsburgh.
Washington has won five of its last six games, slipping into third place in the Southeast Division standings in the process. The Capitals are coming off a 5-3 win in Philadelphia on Saturday night. After going 0-15-1 over the last eight seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, the Caps have won two straight over the Flyers in Philly by identical 5-3 scores. That win over the Flyers also moved Washington into eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Caps are just two points shy of fifth place in the conference.
It took Ovechkin 27 games to record his first three-point game of the 2006-07 season, but he now has a pair of three-point games in his last two. After totaling six goals and 10 points in his first 10 games this season, Ovechkin has racked up 12 goals and 25 points in his last 19 games. The 21-year-old Washington sophomore is tied for third in the league with 18 goals and is 12th in the league’s scoring race with 35 points. He leads the NHL with 152 shots on goal.
With a win over Pittsburgh on Monday, the Caps can move four games above the break-even point for the first time since the conclusion of the 2002-03 regular season.
Heading into Sunday night’s light slate of NHL activity, the Capitals have the league’s 17th ranked power play with a conversion rate of 16.3%. Washington’s penalty killing corps stands 18th in the circuit with a kill rate of 83.1%.
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Now this should be a fun game to watch! I wish I was going to the game tonight. Lets hope our boys can make Syd cry a little more and truly live up to his name "the Kid". I'd love to see Ovy catch Syd coming over the blue line with a nice shot right into the middle of that penguin.