Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Capitals and Penguins rekindle an old divisional battle

Nov 20, 2013, 9:56 AM EDT

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins head to Verizon Center to take on the Washington Capitals at 8 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

Whatever you might think of seeing the Capitals and Penguins squaring off once again, seeing the captains of those teams go head-to-head is more than worth the price of admission.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is tied for the league lead in goals (with St. Louis’ Alex Steen) with 17. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is tied with Steen for the league lead in points with 26. Two superstar players playing at the height of their abilities going against each other on Rivalry Night. That’ll do just fine.

As Capitals coach Adam Oates tells CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating the best in the game.

“Those guys are more like Gretz vs. Mario,” Oates said, referencing the “Who’s better?” rivalry between Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

“They’re the superstars of the league. I would hope as a fan you appreciate that. You’ve got two of the best guys in the world playing against each other. It makes for an electric game.”

What helps make the game even better? The Caps trail the Penguins by one point for the Metropolitan Division lead.

The Capitals come into the game having won three in a row and seven of their last nine. The Penguins are coming off a 3-1 win over Anaheim on Monday and have won six of their last 10 games.

While it’s all well and good to laud how well Ovechkin has done this season, he’s only tied for the team lead in points with 24. The other player? Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom has had one of the stronger starts this season but is going about it quietly racking up 19 assists. Those 24 points are good for a four-way tie for fourth in the league in points. Ovechkin rediscovering his goal-scoring touch last season and into this year has paid off in part due to Backstrom setting him up.

Backstrom isn’t the only player honing his playmaking skills this season. Evgeni Malkin has made up for his lack of goal-scoring by piling up the assists with 17. While he has just three goals this season, his ability to set up his linemates has rounded out the Penguins attack. After all, Jussi Jokinen‘s eight goals only trail Crosby and Chris Kunitz on the team.

The least enviable guys on the ice tonight though? Marc-Andre Fleury and Braden Holtby. While both have had strong starts to their season, having to deal with offenses like these won’t make for an easy night. If they can steal the show, that will just add another layer to this modern rivalry.

Latest Posts
  1. Former NHLer Cote sentenced 30 months in jail for bank robberies

    Jul 27, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) predatorslogo-thumb-250x155-19571.gif for post 15160

    He last played in 2001 with the Edmonton Oilers.

  2. Purcell wants to shoot more in Edmonton

    Jul 27, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Teddy Purcell Getty Images

    He has a few guys that can help make it happen there.

  3. Sabres re-sign Adam to one-year two-way deal

    Jul 27, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

    Luke Adam Getty Images

    He was their final restricted free agent.

  4. Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal

    Jul 27, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT

    Derick Brassard Getty Images

    He emerged as the team’s No. 2 center last season.

  5. Ortio’s new contract becomes one-way in 2015-16

    Jul 27, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Joni Ortio Getty Images

    That adds another layer to the Flames’ goaltending competition.

  6. Columbus agrees to terms with Dana Tyrell

    Jul 27, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Dana Tyrell Getty Images

    He has played in 132 NHL games.

  7. Hiller’s recovery from appendicitis should be quick

    Jul 27, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, of the Czech Republic, gets water after giving up a goal to Colorado Avalanche left wing Jamie McGinn in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, March 14, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

    It led to him having a minor procedure.

  8. Mirco Mueller motivated by Sharks’ ‘tomorrow team’ talk

    Jul 27, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    Mirco Mueller Getty Images

    He’ll enter training camp with a shot of making the team.

  9. Flames re-sign Cundari to one-year deal

    Jul 26, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Mark Cundari Getty Images

    We’ve hit that part of free agency.

  10. Sens meeting with agents of Ryan, MacArthur next week

    Jul 26, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

    Bobby Ryan Getty Images

    They’re both eligible to become free agents next summer.

  11. Bill Peters has high hopes to fix Hurricanes power play

    Jul 26, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    Bill Peters AP

    They had the league’s third-worst unit last season.

  12. Subban not eager to discuss contract talks

    Jul 26, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    He’s scheduled for arbitration on Friday.

  13. Caps’ Ward will bring Trotz expertise to locker room

    Jul 26, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

    Joel Ward Getty Images

    He was injured during World Championships in May.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches