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.
Sep 29, 2014, 11:18 PM EDT
Cory Conacher is probably up next.
Sep 29, 2014, 10:44 PM EDT
He’s running out of opportunities to get into an exhibition contest.
Sep 29, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT
The timing is interesting.
Sep 29, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
This is a critical season for him.
Sep 29, 2014, 8:29 PM EDT
He won’t return to Monday’s game.
Sep 29, 2014, 7:54 PM EDT
This has been a rough preseason for Columbus.
Sep 29, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
Will he be able to build off of his 2013-14 campaign though?
Sep 29, 2014, 5:51 PM EDT
This is certainly the time to do that.
Sep 29, 2014, 4:53 PM EDT
Has two goals in the preseason.
Sep 29, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT
Next up: Brenden Dillon.
Sep 29, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
If you were a member of the Dallas Stars at the turn of the century, you could get a job next!
Sep 29, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT
Prospects Nic Kerdiles and Stefan Noesen headed to AHL Norfolk.
Sep 29, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Bo Horvat may have the inside track over Hunter Shinkaruk and Nicklas Jensen to make Vancouver’s opening-day roster.
Sep 29, 2014, 1:52 PM EDT
Veteran blueliner suffered a separated shoulder during the preseason.
Sep 29, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT
Leafs forward injured once again.
Sep 29, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
Pair of once-touted prospects now up for grabs.
Sep 29, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
Peter Chiarelli addressed the media today in Boston.
Sep 29, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT
After re-upping with Brad Stuart earlier.
Sep 29, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
But, “If it is, it is.”
Sep 29, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT
Both have over 100 games of NHL experience.
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