Jan 11, 2012, 7:38 AM EDT
It wasn’t that long ago that a Penguins-Capitals game would be circled by lovers and haters everywhere as the one to watch. Tonight’s game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) instead shapes up as one between teams looking to stay in the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
There’s still stars to be found even without Sidney Crosby. Alex Ovechkin is there for Washington although Nicklas Backstrom is still questionable after getting elbowed in the face by Rene Bourque. Evgeni Malkin is still scoring goals for Pittsburgh while Jordan Staal and Crosby are out. James Neal‘s broken foot isn’t as broken as they thought it was and he’s still out there.
The sad part here though is that you don’t get the same buzz on this game that you used to.
The Pens are coming off a humbling loss at the hands of the Senators last night while the Caps are back at home after getting whooped on a short west coast trip that saw them lose back-to-back games 5-2 to the Kings and Sharks. When you look at the standings and expect to see the Caps and Pens at the top of the East, it’s a bit stunning to see them hovering around eighth and tenth instead. What a difference a year makes.
Seeing these two duke it out as the class of the East in the past brought the best out of both of them. Perhaps seeing them fight it out for a spot in the postseason can do likewise as they’ll see each other again in 11 days on NBC.
- Two years after winning the Cup, the Kings’ ‘mix’ comes into question 1
- Duck drama: Selanne to sit as healthy scratch in Game 4 11
- MacKinnon, Johnson and Palat named Calder Trophy finalists 9
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 40
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 56
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 48
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 84
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 37
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 57
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)