Alex Ovechkin And Nicklas Backstrom Swap Sides On PP, Ilya Samsonov To Start; Penguins at Capitals Pregame Notebook


After going one-for-five on the power-play in their 5-3 win at the Ottawa Senators on Friday night, the Washington Capitals made some more changes to the unit as they put center Nicklas Backstrom on the left side and captain Alex Ovechkin on the right. The Capitals’ 20.5% power-play efficiency is currently tied with the Minnesota Wild for 12th in the NHL this season, arguably a disappointment considering all of the talent they boast offensively. Head coach Todd Reirden said that he was trying some different looks with the unit struggling. The Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon (12:30 PM ET, NBC).

After making 25 saves against the Senators, goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who has won 11 straight appearances, will start against the Penguins on Sunday. Reirden said “I think right now we need both goalies. There are a lot of games coming up here after the all-star break, there always is, and then we went Braden [Holtby] for two games in a row and now we will go with [Samsonov] for two games in a row and see how that goes.”

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby spoke of his relationship with Ovechkin at the team’s practice in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist missed practice on Saturday as he was getting his tooth fixed at the dentist but will likely be fine to suit up tomorrow afternoon. Forward Zach Aston-Reese took his spot on the top power-play unit.

Forwards Dominik Kahun, who has missed the last two games (concussion), and Nick Bjugstad, who has not played since November 15 (core muscle surgery), both were not on the ice for the Penguins’ practice and will likely not return against the Capitals.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Penguins

Capitals Today

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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