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The rivalry resumes. It’s the first meeting of the season between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first chance the Caps have to get revenge for the last two seasons.
Last season this was an exciting series. The most notable game from 2017-2018 was the 8-7 OT win for Pittsburgh on January 16th.
The Capitals never lost in regulation vs the Penguins last season. In the four regular season games they went 2-0-2.
Player stats are a bit inflated thanks to that 8-7 game, but let’s take a look anyways.
Interesting that you have an 8-7 game and Backstrom had one point in that game. Oshie had three points in the game. Other than that not much to mention.
The Caps played well against Pittsburgh last season and this chart clearly shows that.
Ovechkin again leads the way in career points vs an opponent. Backstrom is another interesting point though. He has 38 career assists in 38 career games vs the Pens. He had 8 assists against them last season alone. Oshie is nearly a point per game player vs Pittsburgh and Burakovsky has scored more goals against the Penguins than any other team he has faced in his career. Kuznetsov could pick it up a bit.
Holtby has a good winning record against a rival but his GAA could come down and his save% could come up a tick.
Pittsburgh was just one of nine teams to win the shot attempts battle for the season series against the Caps. The Pens had a 51.14 Corsi against Washington last season. Looking at the chart above, Carlson had a great season against the Penguins last season and Backstrom, Eller, Niskanen and Orlov all had good numbers as well. The fourth line last season had an awful time last season.
On to the bad side.
Some things to point out, Malkin had a hat-trick in the 8-7 game, Sheary had a 3 point night and Justin Schultz had 4 assists. Crosby had 1 goal and 3 assists in that game too.
Crosby for his career has more points against the Capitals in less games than Ovechkin has against the Penguins. I found that interesting. Malkin also has really impressive stats against Washington in his career.
Matt Murray has not been good against the Capitals in the regular season even with his .500 record against them.
Special teams are also going to be a very important part of this game. The Caps went 5/18 on the power play vs the Penguins last season meaning it was over 27%. Their penalty kill allowed 4 goals on just 12 attempts.
It’s always a fun game when these two teams get together. I wouldn’t expect anything different on Wednesday night.
It’s a nationally televised game, Wednesday night is rivalry night and it’s definitely true with this one.
By CJ Witt