Forever linked, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are going in different direactions…rapidly. (Clydeorama)
The Washington Capitals are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to take on the Penguins this evening as they continue to look for a boost in form. The Capitals, having lost two in a row, most recently a 3-2 decision at the hands of the Leafs Tuesday are 2-7-1 on the season for five standings points; they are therefore dead last in the Southeast Divison, the Eastern Conference, and the entire National Hockey League. The Penguins, riding a four-game winning streak, are 7-3-0 and on top of the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. This is the second game of three between these two clubs this season; the Penguins humbled the Capitals 6-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Coming off a win over the Islanders in which he made 32 saves, Marc-Andre Fleury seems almost a lock to start for Dan Bylsma’s Penguins. Fleury has posted a 2.44 GAA and .907 save percentage on the season while starting six games and winning four of them. On the injury front, the only injured member of the Penguins’ regular lineup is defenseman Matt Niskanen, who has an ankle injury and has not played in over a week.
Michal Neuvirth has been confirmed as the starter in nets for Adam Oates for the second consecutive game. After making 18 saves on 21 shots against the Leafs, Neuvirth brings a .893 save percentage and 2.99 GAA into this contest through six starts. Neuvirth has always played well against the Penguins and will look to continue that success in a tough barn. Both forward Brooks Laich (groin) and defenseman Jack Hillen (shoulder) will be absent from the lineup once more, as they have been for almost all, if not all, of the season. Blueliner John Erskine is also out for the game on suspension. I wouldn’t bet on too many lineup changes, meaning that Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Perreault would remain healthy scratches, but we will know for sure after the morning skate.
Puck drops 7:11-ish. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet locally.
Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.