The Pregame: Ovi and Sid Square Off on Wednesday Night Hockey

michael banner 2This was the game I circled on my calendar when the schedule came out. The Washington Capitals will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on my birthday and we all would like nothing more than a win! For the first time since we took over the steps on Cinco de Mayo, the Penguins are coming to town. It is sure to be an electric atmosphere tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is at 7:30. Read on for everything you need to know about this game.

The Capitals are coming off an impressive win over the Oilers Monday night and are in the middle portion of their five-game homestand. The fourth line did work with goals from Jakub Vrana and Devante Smith-Pelly and Alex Ovechkin added a power play goal. If they play like they did Monday night, expect Washington to come away with a win.

The Penguins meanwhile have struggled. They lost twice to Barry Trotz’s Islanders and they got spanked by the New Jersey Devils on Monday night. The stretch has been so bad that the Penguins will not go with Matt Murray in goal tonight. It’ll be Casey DeSmith’s turn. The Caps are going with Braden Holtby after giving Pheonix Copley a look Monday night.

CAPS LINES
We were at morning skate today. Here is how the Caps will line up. There were no changes from Monday night because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Jaskin
Stephenson-Backstrom-Oshie
Burakovsky-Eller-Connolly
Vrana-Boyd-DSP
Defense
Orlov-Niskanen
Kempny-Carlson
Djoos-Bowey
Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

SCENES FROM MORNING SKATE

CAPS FACTS

  • There will be a pregame ceremony before the game to honor Nicklas Backstrom for 600 career assists. Read more here.
  • Washington holds a 97-99-16-10 record against the Penguns including 56-42-9-5 at home.
  • Ovechkin’s 11 goals this season tie him second in the NHL through games played Nov. 5.
  • Throught he first 13 games of the season, the Capitals are 15-for-41 on the power play and their 36.6 success rate ranks first in the NHL. Their 15 power play goals are tied with the Blues for first in the NHL.

PLAYER MATCHUP

Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby

Yes this preview wouldn’t be complete without this matchup. Sports has been known for great athletes going against each other. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson was a big one in basketball and the two heavyweights that square off on the ice is a matchup the entire hockey world watches.

Ovechkin has 11 goals on the season with his most recent coming as a power play tally. That tied him with Marcel Dionne for eighth place ont eh NHL’s all-time list. He sits at 618 goals in his career, needing eight goals to pass Jerome Iginla and Joe Sakic for sole possession of 15th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.

Sidney Crosby is second on the team in muti-point games with five on the season. He’s got six goals and eight assists on the season. After watching his rival lift the Stanley Cup last summer, Crosby is poised for a big game tonight. Beware of the Holtbeast though. Crosby lit the lap twice in Vancouver and scored in one of the games against the Islanders, however, he has gone three consecutive games without recording a point.

Puck drop is at 7:30. We’ll be there. Will you? Come join us for the fun as this epic rivarly opens the latest chapter.

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