Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Desperate Capitals face Penguins

Mar 19, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

Crosby and Ovechkin Getty Images

NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals at the Consol Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Just how bleak are Washington’s playoff chances at this point? If you believe that it will take 54 points to make the playoffs (about the equivalent of 92 points in a normal season), then Washington needs to go 15-4-1 for the rest of the campaign just to secure a postseason birth.

So when Alex Ovechkin told the Washington Post that how they play this week could make or break their season, he was being accurate.

“It’s pretty much must-win now till the end of the year,” Capitals forward Mathieu Perreault acknowledged.

And you can bet their long-time rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, would love to put one of the final nails in the Capitals’ coffins.

These days it seems that the rivalry between Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin has faded in the public eye. It hasn’t helped that the Washington Capitals have come under hard times over the past couple of years.

Ovechkin certainly has taken a lot of heat in recent years too and even though he is still one of the best in the game, Crosby still has more than double his 2013 points total so far.

Washington has also done a poor job of containing Crosby. They have surrendered six points to him in their two losses against Pittsburgh this season and 41 points in 24 career contests.

Still, despite having won nine games in a row, the Capitals might be facing the Penguins at an opportune time. Star forward Evgeni Malkin has missed five straight contests with an upper body injury and top defenseman Kris Letang suffered a lower body injury on Sunday.

It remains to be seen if the Penguins will be without both players, but at this point, the Capitals can use any advantage they can get. After all, even if they beat the Penguins today, they still have to win roughly three-fourths of their remaining contests.

Probable goaltenders: PIT – Marc-Andre Fleury (15-5-0, 2.45 GAA, .909 SV%) | WAS – Braden Holtby (10-9-0, 2.97 GAA, .908 SV%)

Top scorers: PIT – Crosby (13-35-48, 30 GP) | WAS – Mike Ribeiro (10-21-31, 28 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Pittsburgh – Forwards: Malkin (upper body) Defensemen: Letang (lower body)
Washington – Forwards: Brooks Laich (groin) Defensemen: Tomas Kundratek (leg), John Erskine (upper body), Mike Green (groin)

Latest Posts
  1. Shero: Buying out Zubrus creates flexibility to add forward

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    “It really wasn’t about Dainius himself.”

  2. Gillette Stadium will host Bruins-Habs alumni game ahead of Winter Classic

    Jul 29, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

    2016 Winter Classic Logo

    The contest will air on Dec. 31 while the Classic itself is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.

  3. Ryan Murray: ‘I have to show up and prove it’

    Jul 29, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT

    Ryan Murray AP

    Staying healthy would help, too.

  4. Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    The Seal Beach Detention Center isn’t exactly Shawshank.

  5. Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars training camp Getty Images

    “I relaxed down there and came back with the same attitude and everything kind of took care of itself.”

  6. Zubrus on unconditional waivers for purpose of terminating his contract

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Veteran forward had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.

  7. Talbot knows he has a ‘great opportunity’ in Edmonton

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Cam Talbot AP

    Can he give the Oilers the goaltending they so badly need?

  8. Report: Rangers prospect Andersson headed to North America

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    ERC Ingolstadt v EV Zug - Champions Hockey League Getty Images

    Spent last season with Lugano in the Swiss League.

  9. Report: Visnovsky considering European options

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Lubomir Visnovsky #11 of the New York Islanders in action against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on February 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The New York Islanders won, 1-0. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Potentially a move to Switzerland, or the Czech League.

  10. Sabres name Cunneyworth AHL head coach

    Jul 28, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    Randy Cunneyworth Getty Images

    Returning him to Rochester for a third time.

  11. Orpik undergoes wrist surgery, should be ready for season opener

    Jul 28, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT

    PA: Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Washington d-man is expected to miss the next two weeks of offseason training.

  12. Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Getty Images

    Nice payday after posting a career-high in goals this season.

  13. For Pens, Tuesday’s moves were all about depth and finances up front

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:23 PM EDT

    Jim Rutherford AP

    “When you look at the structure of our salaries and our cap, it’s important to get those bottom-six cap hits in better shape.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Holtby (2459)
  2. D. Stepan (2431)
  3. G. Bettman (2308)
  4. A. Larsson (2235)
  5. A. Semin (1616)
  1. L. Couture (1440)
  2. J. Toews (1416)
  3. A. Chiasson (1331)
  4. C. Ehrhoff (1319)
  5. M. Johansson (1275)