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.
Jan 24, 2015, 10:03 PM EST
See you all tomorrow.
Jan 24, 2015, 9:41 PM EST
Florida’s All-Star goalie never gave up on it.
Jan 24, 2015, 9:14 PM EST
Just 0.3 away from Zdeno Chara’s all-time record.
Jan 24, 2015, 9:09 PM EST
Jan 24, 2015, 8:34 PM EST
Team Foligno running away with this.
Jan 24, 2015, 8:21 PM EST
That’s an all-time screencap right there.
Jan 24, 2015, 7:55 PM EST
Team Foligno sweeps first competition.
Jan 24, 2015, 7:09 PM EST
Johnny Hockey gets the nod.
Jan 24, 2015, 6:20 PM EST
Has gone from forward to defense, back to forward and back to defense.
Jan 24, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
He’s ranked fourth in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings.
Jan 24, 2015, 5:23 PM EST
Bragging rights on the line.
Jan 24, 2015, 5:21 PM EST
And what will the team look like?
Jan 24, 2015, 4:55 PM EST
It’s expected to be around $71.6 million to $72.2 million for the 2015-16 season.
Jan 24, 2015, 4:09 PM EST
Slovenia’s (and Los Angeles’) Anze Kopitar figures to play a prominent role.
Jan 24, 2015, 4:02 PM EST
Will fans care? Is it fair?
Jan 24, 2015, 2:34 PM EST
“People are intrigued by this. There are going to be great storylines.”
Jan 24, 2015, 2:15 PM EST
Gillette Stadium, TCF Bank Stadium and Coors Field will play hosts
Jan 24, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
It all gets going at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Jan 24, 2015, 12:46 PM EST
“Again, I’ll repeat that for this team to be even remotely close to missing the playoffs isn’t something we can be happy about.”
Jan 24, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
The 21-year-old is learning what it takes to be an NHL regular.
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