Penguins vs. Capitals
PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
7:00PM Eastern – NBCSN | AT&TSN | NBCS-WA
The Penguins welcome a familiar foe to the dojo on Tuesday night as they look to continue driving the definition of the playoff picture in the Metropolitan Division, taking on the division-leading Capitals, who are looking to extend their 7-game winning streak against their hated rival.
The Penguins have been in a streak-busting mood recently, rebounding from their loss in Columbus with a strong 4-2 win against Boston, snapping the Bruins’ 19-game point streak in the process.
The Penguins have been slingshotting back and forth with the Carolina Hurricanes, who hold a one-game edge in the Regulation/Overtime Win tie-breaker as of right now. Both teams have 83 points through 69 games. Nice. When you start to look at the Penguins final 13 games, here’s how it shakes out:
- Home 7 (WSH, STL, PHI, NSH, CAR, DET, NYR)
- Away 6 (BUF, CAR, NSH, DAL, NYR, DET)
- vs. Metro: 6 (WSH, CAR x2, NYR x2, PHI)
- vs. East: 9 (WSH, BUF, CAR x2, DET x2, NYR x2, PHI)
- vs. West: 4 (STL, NSH x2, DAL)
These divisional matchups will really end up dictating whether the Penguins land in the Wild Card or in the Metropolitan Division’s top-3. In less-likely scenarios, they could conceivably catch the Capitals (they’d be 4 points out with a regulation victory tonight) or miss the playoffs entirely (they’re 4 points up on Columbus and Montreal for the second Wild Card).
But even in the absence of what lies ahead, tonight is huge. Pens vs. Caps, a rite of spring, and what’s sure to be a little flight of some playoff hops and aromas.
Buckle up, baby.
The Penguins will be without Zach Aston-Reese, who was injured vs. Boston. He is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
McCann – Crosby – Guentzel
Blueger – Malkin – Kessel
Simon – Bjugstad – Hornqvist
Blandisi – Cullen – Wilson
Johnson – Schultz
Dumoulin – Trotman
Pettersson – Gudbranson
The Caps, as mentioned, have won 7 in a row. They’re tied with Toronto for 3rd best in the Eastern Conference with 89 points. Alex Ovechkin is 1 point away from 1200 on his career. If that seems like a familiar-sounding milestone, it’s because Sidney Crosby just banked his 1200th against Florida last Tuesday.
Speaking of familiar, the Penguins’ old friend who factored in on the backbreaking OT goal which sent the Capitals packing in 2016 is back in the threads of the enemy. Carl Hagelin, by way of Los Angeles and an exile in Pittsburgh due to the nature of his retained salary deal (thanks, Jeem) will be squaring off against the Pens and his best friend, Patric Hornqvist.
The Caps are 1-1-1 in the season series, with Pittsburgh taking the first meeting 7-6 in OT, then each team splitting 2-1 regulation wins at the Capital One Arena.
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson
Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie
Hagelin – Eller – Connolly
Burakovsky – Dowd – Boyd
Carlson – Kempny
Orlov – Niskanen
Orpik – Jensen
Fuck Tom Wilson.