Preview: Capitals Make Pit Stop At Home For Pivotal Divisional Game vs. Pittsburgh

Photo: Sportsnet

The Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night for the final time and second of three meetings between the two teams this season. Pittsburgh pounded Washington by a score of 4-1 on November 9. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 7 PM ET.


Pittsburgh: alternates between home and road games for final eight games before NHL All-Star Break (seventh of stretch), where they have gone 3-1-2 so far

Washington: returns from three-game Western Conference road trip (1-2-0), play first game in last five against an Eastern Conference opponent and last home game before NHL All-Star Break


Pittsburgh: 24-15-8/.596 points percentage – fourth in Metropolitan Division, seventh in Eastern Conference; 10-10-4 on road, 21st in NHL

Washington: 25-19-6/.560 points percentage – fifth in Metropolitan Division, eighth in Eastern Conference (but ninth in points percentage); 13-8-3 at home, 11th


Pittsburgh: five-game point-streak (3-0-2) after going 3-7-2 in their previous 12

Washington: lost five of their last seven and six of their past nine in regulation since season-long nine-game point-streak (7-0-2) ended



  • C Sidney Crosby (23 goals, 34 assists, 57 points)
  • C Evgeni Malkin (30 assists, 47 points)
  • D Kris Letang (24:36 TOI/game)

Notes: Crosby, 35, has two goals, nine points over five-game point-streak and four goals, 14 points in his last 10 since a four-game scoring drought; Malkin, 36, has three goals, eight points, three multi-point games in his last five and five goals, 13 points, and four multi-point outings over his last nine; Letang, 35, had two goals, four points in his return in Pittsburgh’s 7-6 overtime win vs. Florida Panthers after missing 11 games due to the death of his father/injury; LW Jake Guentzel has three goals, seven points in last five after going scoreless in eight of his previous 10 (two goals, four points), including four straight; RW Rickard Rakell has five goals, eight points in his last eight, including three goals in his last four and six points in his last five; LW Jason Zucker has five goals in his last nine; C Jeff Carter has gone scoreless in his last eight; LW Brock McGinn has gone scoreless in his last 14; D Jeff Petry has three assists over a three-game assist-streak; LW Danton Heinen ended a seven-game scoring drought with a goal, three points vs. Florida; D Marcus Pettersson has gone scoreless in 10 of his last 11 (two assists), including three straight; D Pierre-Olivier Joseph has just one assist in his last 11, including none over his last eight


Notes: Ovechkin has two goals, five points in last five games; Kuznetsov, 30, has four assists in his last five; Orlov, 31, has a goal, four points in his last five; C Dylan Strome has three goals, five points in his last five after going scoreless in five of his previous six; LW Conor Sheary has just one goal, one assist in last 10 and ended a seven-game scoring drought in team’s 3-2 loss at Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday; C Lars Eller has gone scoreless in his last 10; LW Anthony Mantha ended a four-game scoring drought with an assist vs. Colorado


Goals-per-game:                 PIT – 3.28 (11th)          WSH – 3.16 (T-16th)

Goals-against per game:   PIT – 3.06 (16th)         WSH – 2.8 (9th)

Power Play:                          PIT – 22.2% (T-16th) WSH – 20.3% (T-19th)

Penalty Kill:                         PIT – 81.2% (9th)       WSH – 81.6% (7th)

Shots-per-game:                 PIT – 32.6 (T-10th)    WSH – 31.7 (17th)

Shots-against per game:   PIT – 33.7 (T-26th)    WSH – 30 (T-9th)

Faceoff-winning %:           PIT – 52.2% (8th)       WSH – 49.8% (17th)

5v5 Corsi-for %:                 PIT – 50.18% (19th)   WSH – 51.38% (12th)

5v5 x Goals-For %:            PIT – 52.61% (10th)   WSH – 51.79% (13th)

5v5 SCF %:                          PIT – 50.7% (17th)     WSH – 51.46% (15th)

5v5 Shooting %:                 PIT – 8.11% (21st)      WSH – 8.4% (16th)

5v5 Save %:                         PIT – .9207 (12th)     WSH – .9179 (14th)

5v5 PDO:                             PIT – 1.002 (T-14th) WSH – 1.002 (T-14th)


Pittsburgh: Casey DeSmith, 31 — 7-9-3, .900 save percentage, 3.34 goals-against average, in 20 games this season; 3-1-0, .896 save percentage, 2.45 goals-against average in four career games vs. Washington, including a 24-save (.960 save percentage) performance in November

Washington: Darcy Kuemper, 32 — 14-11-3 (T-16th in wins), .916 save percentage (T-13th), 2.57 goals-against average (12th), five shutouts (first) in 32 games; 2-3-1, .905 save percentage, 3.15 goals-against average in six career games vs. Pittsburgh, including a 24-save performance (.889 save percentage) the first time these two teams met



  • LW Kasperi Kapanen (lower-body, will miss third straight game, out indefinitely)
  • RW Josh Archibald (lower-body, 17th, day-to-day)
  • D Jan Rutta (upper-body, sixth, indefinite)
  • G Tristan Jarry (upper-body, second, day-to-day)


  • Carlson (upper-body, 15th, indefinite)
  • RW Connor Brown (ACL, 47th, indefinite)
  • LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 51st, indefinite)
  • C Nic Dowd (lower-body, fifth, indefinite)
  • RW Tom Wilson (lower-body, first, day-to-day)



Guentzel — Crosby — Bryan Rust
Zucker — Malkin — Rakell
McGinn — Teddy Blueger — Carter
Drew O’Connor — Ryan Poehling — Heinen

Brian Dumoulin — Letang
Pettersson — Petry
Joseph — Chad Ruhwedel

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: C Jonathan Gruden, D Mark Friedman


Ovechkin — Strome — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano — Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Mantha — Nicklas Backstrom — Sheary
Marcus Johansson — Eller — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Orlov — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Martin Fehervary

Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: D Alexander Alexeyev, C Aliaksei Protas

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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2 Responses to Preview: Capitals Make Pit Stop At Home For Pivotal Divisional Game vs. Pittsburgh

  1. novafyre says:

    Since I have not seen anything, I assume Osh is still on baby watch?

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