Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals
Captain Sidney Crosby looks to continue his offensive assault Wednesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins kick off a three-game, four-day road trip against the Metropolitan Division-rival Washington Capitals (Enter Contest). Since returning from a concussion that cost him the first six games of the season, Crosby has registered five two-point performances while collecting 10 goals and three assists in nine contests. The 29-year-old two-time Hart Trophy winner and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy recipient tops the Penguins in tallies and is tied for second in scoring. It’s two points behind leader Evgeni Malkin.
Washington hopes to break out of its offensive slump after scoring a total of five goals while going 1-2-1 over its last four games. The Capitals were held to one tally for the second straight contest on Tuesday. They squandered their lead and dropped a 2-1 decision at Columbus in overtime. Nicklas Backstrom provided the lone goal in the setback. It was just his second of the campaign. Six-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin has gone a season-high four straight games without a tally.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (10-3-2)
Derrick Pouliot is making strides toward a return to the lineup. The defenseman participated in practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on October 20. Nick Bonino was also on the ice after skipping Monday’s practice. He’s expected to be in the lineup against Washington. Malkin is riding a four-game point streak and has landed on the scoresheet in eight of his last nine contests. Goalie Matt Murray has allowed a total of only five goals while winning each of his four starts this campaign.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (9-4-2)
One of the problems with the team’s offense has been its lack of testing the opposing goaltender. They’ve registered 21 shots during Saturday’s 5-1 loss at Carolina. It was the lowest total in 25 regular-season games dating back to March. Washington improved by just one in Tuesday’s defeat. All 20 skaters who have suited up for the Capitals this season have recorded at least one point now that defenseman Taylor Chorney notched an assist against Columbus in his second game of 2016-17. Left wing Marcus Johansson, who shares the team lead of seven goals with Ovechkin, has recorded just one in his last six games.