Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Capitals fight to earn first win vs. Penguins in 26 months

Mar 11, 2014, 8:43 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) lunges for the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green (52) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 10, 2014, in Washington. The Penguins won 3-2.(AP Photo/Nick Wass) AP

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Washington Capitals at the Consol Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins have been fierce rivals since Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby broke into the league, but there’s no question that the competition has been very one-sided lately.

Washington hasn’t defeated Pittsburgh since Jan. 11, 2012 and it doesn’t take much to figure out which has been the better team this season. The Penguins are cruising to the Metropolitan Division title with a 43-17-4 record while the Capitals are just trying to claw their way into the playoffs.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

That task was made a little harder for the Capitals yesterday when Pittsburgh earned a 3-2 victory against them in the first half of this home-and-home series. That was Washington’s fourth loss in five games and was largely due to Crosby’s efforts. He led the Penguins with a goal and three points, giving him six points in three contests against Washington in 2013-14.

By comparison, Ovechkin had a quiet night and has now been kept off the scoresheet for three straight games.

One of the main differences between Pittsburgh and Washington is that the Penguins have plenty of scoring depth. On the rare occasions Crosby doesn’t get a point, they still have the likes of Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, and Jussi Jokinen. Beyond Ovechkin, Washington’s only major threat is Nicklas Backstrom. With that in mind, if Washington is going to rebound today, it will likely be courtesy of Ovechkin.

That being said, there are some x-factors. Assuming Washington opts to use him on back-to-back nights, Evgeny Kuznetsov will be worth watching. The 21-year-old KHL standout made his Capitals debut on Monday, getting two shots on goal in 10:22 minutes.

It wasn’t a start worth remembering, but he was making the transition to North American hockey while playing against one of the league’s best teams. Washington is hoping that he’ll be able to adjust quickly and provide the squad with that extra offensive weapon that they sorely need. He is capable of turning some heads tonight.

From Pittsburgh’s perspective, there’s not a lot left to play for until the postseason starts. The stakes coming into this game are higher for Washington, but that doesn’t mean the Penguins will have trouble getting motivated for this one. Diminishing a chief rivals chances of advancing to the playoffs is something worth fighting for.

Latest Posts
  1. Arbitrator awards Marcus Johansson $3.75M contract

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    That’s close to the middle between his and Washington’s requests.

  2. Maloney: RFA Domingue will play in Europe

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Louis Domingue Getty Images

    The decision surprised Arizona’s general manager.

  3. Siegenthaler signs entry-level contract with Caps

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    Jonas Siegenthaler Getty Images

    The defenseman spent the 2014-15 campaign in the Swiss League.

  4. One month later, Mike Richards’ future remains murky

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:46 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    There is a key deadline approaching though.

  5. Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

    Jul 31, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    Johnson won a gold medal in 1988, but it was taken away because of a positive steroids test.

  6. Quebecor seeks partners in Quebec City bid

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    There’s a $500 million expansion fee to consider.

  7. How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Because once Voracek’s eight-year contract kicks in, they’ll be part of that list.

  8. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

  9. Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Alex Galchenyuk Getty Images

    The deal is reportedly worth $5.6 million.

  10. Flames prospect Kylington cleared to play in North America

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    Oliver Kylington Getty Images

    At one point he was listed as the top European skater in the 2015 draft.

  11. Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    The Flyers also have forwards Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier locked up.

  12. Zubrus clears waivers, is ‘surprised’ by buyout

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.

  13. Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    PNI Coyotes Deal 0611 PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

    “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2746)
  2. G. Bettman (1847)
  3. L. Couture (1737)
  4. J. Toews (1691)
  5. A. Larsson (1687)
  1. B. Holtby (1669)
  2. A. Chiasson (1525)
  3. M. Johansson (1389)
  4. A. Semin (1324)
  5. B. Gionta (1322)