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Penguins-Capitals Preview

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GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (13-34-11) at Washington Capitals (19-31-5).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to win consecutive games for just the third time this season as they play the Washington Capitals.

Pittsburgh, which has beaten Washington twice this season, has won back-to-back games only twice through its tumultuous season. The Penguins won consecutive games both Nov. 1-3 and Dec. 29-31, but are 3-15-3 since the last time they strung together wins.

The Penguins defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Friday to end a seven-game losing streak and win for just the second time in their last 19 games.

"Right now, any win is really big for us," said Penguins left wing John LeClair, who scored a goal and added an assist against Carolina. "Team morale has been pretty low, and it's important for us to win games and get that atmosphere going around here. We know that we can play the right way and hang on to a lead."

Pittsburgh's leading scorer, Sidney Crosby, also had a goal and an assist. The 18-year-old rookie has two goals and four assists in the two wins against the Capitals.

The Penguins are in last place in the Eastern Conference and winless in thier last seven games at Washington with five losses and two ties since a 5-3 win Jan. 8, 2001.

The Capitals lost 5-4 Friday to the Philadelphia Flyers, their third loss in a row and seventh in nine games. Alexander Ovechkin ended a five-game goal-scoring drought and added an assist for his first multi-point game since Jan. 21.

The 20-year-old Russian has totaled 35 goals and 68 points to lead all rookies this season, and has a goal and an assist in two games against the Penguins.

During their three-game losing streak, the Capitals have been outscored 15-4 and yielded six power-play goals in 19 penalty kills.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 37 points, 5th place, 39 PB, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 43 points, 5th place, 37 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 27 goals, 36 assists and 63 points; Sergei Gonchar, 80 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 35 goals, 33 assists and 68 points; Brendan Witt, 127 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Penguins - Power play: 17.9 percent (64 for 358), 15th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.4 percent (302 for 390), 30th. Capitals - Power play: 14.2 percent (47 for 330), 29th. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (298 for 378), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (6-20-4, 0 SO, 3.30 GAA); Sebastien Caron (6-4-4, 0, 4.19). Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (15-21-5, 0, 3.42); Brent Johnson (4-9-0, 0, 4.16).

SEASON SERIES: Penguins, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 25; Penguins, 8-1. At Pittsburgh, LeClair and Mark Recchi scored two goals each and Crosby added another along with three assists as Kolzig conceded a career-worst eight goals.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 6-18-5 on the road; Capitals - 13-13-4 at home.

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