Nov 20, 2013, 9:56 AM EST
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.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The 19-year-old rookie will be sticking in the NHL this season.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with the Jackets tough guy.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
He’s been a healthy scratch in three straight games.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
Sharks forward has undergone months of rehab on his surgically-repaired knee.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:04 PM EST
“Let’s get real. Finding top-four defensemen, they’re not available,” says GM Dean Lombardi.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
And rightly so.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:27 PM EST
Alex Mallet for Andrey Pedan, specifically.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:15 PM EST
Bojangles. That’s a funny name.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 25, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
“I would rather fight than turtle or anything like that.”
Nov 25, 2014, 2:36 PM EST
This is… surprising.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:25 PM EST
Cory Schneider to “see what kind of player he is” tonight.
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