Shea-ved Ice: Penguins Vs. Capitals Preview
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDKA) – After a disappointing result against the Rangers on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to get back to their winning ways when they take on the Capitals tonight.
The Penguins are coming off a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers Tuesday night.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, the Penguins allowed four goals in the second period and began a parade to the penalty box that Macy’s would be envious of.
The Penguins did manage to get back into the game with a late second period goal by Evgeni Malkin and an early goal in the third period by Pascal Dupuis.
However, more penalties down the stretch cost the Penguins valuable time on the clock and the Rangers were able to hold on for the win.
Now, the Penguins turn their attention to the Washington Capitals.
On Monday, head coach Bruce Boudreau was fired and replaced by former Capitals captain Dale Hunter.
After getting out of the gates with a 7-0 record, the Capitals have gone into a tailspin. The Caps have lost three in a row and are just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.
Hunter made his coaching debut on Tuesday, but the Capitals lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues. Washington only managed to get 19 shots on goal in that game.
This will be the second meeting between the Penguins and Capitals this season. Washington won the first game 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 13.
While Alex Ovechkin has a lower point total (eight goals, 10 assists) than he (or fantasy owners) would like at this point in the season, he is still dangerous and the Penguins will need to keep him in check.
Niklas Backstrom is currently leading the way for Washington with eight goals and 18 assists this season.
Over the summer, the Capitals went out and got Tomas Vokoun to bolster their goaltending. However, as the Caps have struggled, so have their goaltenders.
Vokoun is currently 10-6 with a 2.77 GAA and a .907 save percentage, while Michal Neuvirth is 2-4-1 with a 3.82 GAA and a .868 save percentage.
Against the Penguins, Vokoun is 8-9-2-4 (two ties) with a 2.63 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
In three appearances against the Pens, Neuvirth is 2-0 with a 0.65 GAA and a .977 save percentage with two shutouts.
For Pittsburgh, Zbynek Michalek and Kris Letang were held out of the lineup against the Rangers.
Letang suffered a broken nose after being hit by Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. He also has a virus and is unable to take a concussion test until he gets over the illness.
Michalek also took a hit to the head in the third period and passed a concussion test. However, he is trying to get over symptoms from the hit.
Both will not play tonight against the Capitals.
Alexandre Picard and Robert Bortuzzo were called up to play against the Rangers, but it appears a highly touted defensive prospect will make his NHL debut tonight.
Picard was reassigned to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Simon Despres was called up Thursday morning.
This will also be the first time Sidney Crosby has laced up the skates against the Capitals since the Winter Classic last season.
In 21 games against the Capitals, Crosby has 13 goals and 22 assists.
Brent Johnson was in goal the first time these two teams faced off this season, but Marc-Andre Fleury (13-4-2, 2.17 GA, .922 save percentage) will likely be the starter tonight.
Against the Capitals, Fleury is 9-6-2 with a 2.90 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports.
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