The Capitals return home Wednesday night to host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. You can catch the game on NBCSN as their “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game of the week.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS
The Penguins (26-8-5) are currently sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points. Pittsburgh is currently on a five-game winning streak, and are coming off a 6-2 home win over the Lightning on Sunday night. The Penguins are 13-1-2 in their past 16 games, coming into this game, and hungry for payback after getting blown out 7-1 in the team’s last meeting.
The Penguins have suffered numerous injuries as of late. The most recent and most notable being Phil Kessel with an illness. It is uncertain whether or not he will play Wednesday night. The Penguins practice lines on Tuesday:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are fourth in the league when it comes to the power play, with a 22.6% conversion rate. They were 1-for-3 on the power play in their last game against the Lightning, with Kris Letang lighting the lamp. The penalty kill has them ranked 21st in the league with a 79.8% success rate.
The Penguins are tops in the league when it comes to getting shots off, averaging 34.9 shots per game. They are 27th in the NHL in shots allowed per game at 32.6.
The Capitals (26-9-5) have won six in a row, moving them up to third in the Metropolitan Division. They are currently tied with Pittsburgh in points (57), though the Caps have played one more game than the Pens.
Washington is coming off a big Monday night win over the Canadiens, as Alex Ovechkin’s two assist and a goal gave him 999 career points, and a chance to get 1,000 Wednesday night in front of the home fans. Ovechkin’s third period goal tied him with Canadiens legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard with 544 goals, good for 29th on the all-time goals list.
Liam O’Brien and Paul Carey were re-assigned to Hershey on Tuesday afternoon, indicating that T.J. Oshie is likely to return to the lineup Wednesday night. Oshie missed Monday’s game against the Canadiens after apparently re-injuring his left shoulder against the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday night.
The Caps are 19th in the power play with a success rate of 16.9% but had a good special teams outing last game, going 1-for-2 on the man-advantage with Ovechkin’s milestone goal. The Capitals penalty kill continues to dominate, currently ranked third in the league, with an 86.8% success rate, and killed three out of four penalties on Monday night.
The Caps have leapfrogged to 10th in the league in shots per game with an average of 30.4. The Caps are sixth best in shots allowed per game at 27.9.
Wednesday night’s game is the third meeting between the teams this season. The Penguins won the first meeting (the season opener( in a shootout, while Washington handled them with a 7-1 rout in DC. Both teams are riding winning streaks with the Pens winning five in a row and the Caps coming in winners of six straight, so something’s gotta give.
- Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin have been selected to participate in the 2017 NHL All Star Game. More info here.
- Head coach Barry Trotz is one win shy of passing Pat Quinn (684) for seventh place on the all-time NHL wins list.
- Nicklas Backstrom, with two points on Monday, has earned 25 points in his last 26 games.
By Michael Marzzacco