Game Preview: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date: Friday, Feb. 2nd, 2018
Time: 7.00 p.m. Eastern
Venue: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, NBCSWA
By Bill Sands
Two days after a convincing win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals are back in action on Friday night with another division match-up with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Washington: The Caps got their busy week off to a good start with a 5-3 win over the Flyers on Wednesday. After looking rusty and surrendering two quick goals, the Caps roared back for five unanswered goals.
The Caps can score in bunches, but falling behind early on the road is not going to be an option against a high-scoring Pittsburgh team. Washington needs to get off to a much better start this time; players often speak of weathering the storm in the first ten minutes when they’re playing an away game, and this rule will be in full effect on Friday.
Despite some issues coming off the bye week, Washington has been playing well. The team goes into Pittsburgh on an 8-2-2 streak and will hope to pad their division lead.
Pittsburgh: Don’t look now, but the Penguins are starting to return to their championship form at just the right time. After a slow start to the season that saw Pittsburgh spend some time outside the playoff picture, the Penguins are getting hot and currently sit in third in the Metropolitan division, with the possibility of moving into second with a win tonight.
Pittsburgh is currently on a three-game win streak and posted a record of 9-3 in January, and Caps fans know all too well how the Pens have had Washington’s number for the past decade.
The Pens have been winning with their usual methods: big contributions from star players and timely help from role players. Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin are leading the way with more than 50 points each, and the fourth-leading scorer is Patric Hornqvist with a mere 30 points. Such a top-heavy roster should seem like an issue, but Pittsburgh keeps finding ways to win.
Caps Would Welcome Morale Boost
The days of week-long breaks for the Caps are a thing of the past going forward. They’ll return home on Sunday for a date with the Vegas Golden Knights, who have been dominant as of late. Getting the win against Philly was a great start, and taking down Pittsburgh on the road will be a huge morale boost.