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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (21-46-8-4) at Washington Capitals (22-45-9-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The teams with the lowest point totals in the NHL meet when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals play the first of two contests in the last week of the regular season.

Pittsburgh is last in the league with 54 points, one fewer than Washington.

The Penguins, however, are playing well down the stretch while the Caps are struggling.

Pittsburgh improved to 3-1-1 in its last four games after a 2-2 tie with the Buffalo Sabres at home on Saturday.

The Penguins fell behind 2-0 after one period, but Konstantin Koltsov converted a two-on-one pass from Tom Kostopoulos at 15:28 of the second period to tie it for Pittsburgh, which also got a second-period goal from Rico Fata.

Pittsburgh is 8-2-2 in its last 12 games and 10-4-3 since an 18-game winless streak last month.

"It wasn't the first game where we came back from a bad start," said Koltsov, who has nine goals - including two in the past three games. "We just tried to play better starting in the second period."

Washington lost its third straight on Saturday, 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps have just one win in their last 10 contests (1-8-1) and haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 28-29.

Washington rookie Matthew Yeats stopped 28 shots in his second straight start.

"He's been great," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "It looks like he can play and we're in a position to give him a chance."

Olaf Kolzig served as Yeats' backup.

"Olie has been the heart and soul of this organization," Hanlon said. "I wanted Olie to have some fun without thinking about playing the game here. It had nothing to do with anything else."

Hanlon said it hasn't been decided if Yeats will start the Caps' final four games of the season.

Pittsburgh is 0-4-2 in Washington since a 5-3 win on Jan. 8, 2001.

The Caps and Penguins meet again on the last day of the regular season in Pittsburgh.

STANDINGS (through March 28): Penguins - 54 points, 5th place, 44 PB, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 55 points, 5th place, 48 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Ryan Malone, 22 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 36 assists and 51 points; Brooks Orpik, 125 PIM. Capitals - Jeff Halpern, 15 goals, 23 assists and 38 points; Brendan Witt, 117 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 28): Penguins - Power play: 18.4 percent (64 for 348), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 76.7 percent (277 for 361), 30th. Capitals - Power play: 19.4 percent (63 for 324), 6th. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (309 for 379), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Sebastien Caron (8-24-5, 1 SO, 3.76 GAA); Jean-Sebastien Aubin (6-8-0, 1, 2.97). Capitals - Kolzig (19-34-8, 2, 2.89); Yeats (0-2-0, 3.02).


LAST MEETING: March 16; Penguins, 4-1. At Pittsburgh, Landon Wilson scored a pair of power-play goals and Matt Hussey had a power-play goal in his first NHL game to lead the Penguins.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 9-24-2-4 on the road; Capitals - 12-20-6-1 at home.

Associated Press
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