The Pittsburgh Penguins
are proof of just how much can change in the NHL over a span of 10 days.
The last time they played the Washington Capitals
, the Penguins were victimized only once, but it was enough for a 1-0 loss that dropped them out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference this late in the season for the first time since Dan Bylsma
took over as coach.
It was Pittsburgh's sixth straight loss.
"We did a lot of good things, but still it's not enough to get the win," Penguins forward James Neal
said after that loss at Verizon Center on Jan. 11. "We just need to get a win, that's bottom line.”
Well, when the Penguins and Capitals meet Sunday in Pittsburgh for the NHL on NBC Game of the Week (12:30 p.m. ET), the home team will put a five-game winning streak on the line.
Pittsburgh has jumped back into the race and currently sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 56 points. Washington, which leapt into the top eight with that 1-0 win against the Penguins on Jan. 11, are now leading the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference despite their second 3-0 loss in the last three games Friday night.