For the second year in a row, "Super Sunday" will mean a national showcase for the latest installment of one of the NHL's best rivalries.
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will renew their hostilities at Verizon Center on Sun. Feb. 6 at 12:30 p.m., and it will be the NBC Sports "Game of the Week," the NHL and NBC Sports announced Thursday.
"They don't like us, so why should we like them?" Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told NHL.com before the two teams played in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
That was the last time these two rivals met, with Washington collecting a 3-1 victory in front of more than 68,000 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and 6.6 million television viewers in North America. Pittsburgh prevailed in the first meeting of the season -- a 3-2 decision that needed a shootout.
Both of those games were part of the HBO series "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" and the third clash between the two clubs will be a national television affair on NBC.
The Feb. 6 contest will come 364 days after one of the great regular-season matchups between the two franchises -- a game that was also a matinee before the Super Bowl. Washington rallied from a 4-1 deficit -- thanks in part to a pair of goals from Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby -- to claim a 5-4 overtime victory.
Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick in the game and assisted on Mike Knuble's overtime winner. Not only was it a memorable contest, the surreal backdrop added to the experience. About two feet of snow had blanketed Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the contest, but Verizon Center was still nearly full and it was a raucous atmosphere with the rival Penguins in town, who had to fly into Newark, N.J., and take a bus to the city because of airport closures.
"It felt like a playoff atmosphere to me. It is intense every time we play them," Crosby said after the loss. "We had the game, and unfortunately we let it slip away."
The Penguins, despite injuries to Crosby and more recently fellow All-Star Evgeni Malkin, have the second-most points in the Eastern Conference and are chasing their other top rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and the East.
After three straight Southeast Division titles, the Capitals are in the midst of a battle to capture No. 4 in a row with the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers.
This will be the second NHL "Game of the Week" of the season on NBC. A Stanley Cup Final rematch kicks off the campaign as Mike Richards and the Philadelphia Flyers return to United Center to face Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hockey fans in the United States will be able to watch the NBC "Game of the Week" live every Sunday on nhl.com and nbcsports.com.