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game preview

Penguins at Capitals preview

Ovechkin looks to continue quick start for Washington; Hornqvist game-time decision for Pittsburgh

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

PENGUINS (1-1-1) at CAPITALS (2-0-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV


The Game 

The Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Washington Capitals for the first time since the Penguins' seven-game victory in the Eastern Conference Second Round last season, at Capital One Arena. Pittsburgh has defeated Washington in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

The Penguins are 27-17-4 against the Capitals since Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby and Washington forward Alex Ovechkin entered the NHL in 2005-06.

Ovechkin leads the League with seven goals through three games. It took him 11 games to score seven goals last season when he finished with 33, his lowest total in a full NHL season since he scored 32 in 2010-11.

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist, who has yet to play this season after having offseason surgery on his right hand, will be a game-time decision.


Players to watch

Penguins forward Bryan Rust has two multiple-assist games this season. He had accomplished that feat three times in his previous 112 NHL games.

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the NHL with eight points, all assists. He has assisted on all seven of Ovechkin's goals. It took Kuznetsov 19 games to reach eight points last season.


They said it 

"It's the way it's been for a long time. You throw a couple of playoff series in back-to-back years, that's what you're going to get. A lot of guys are familiar with that regardless of the changeover [in personnel]. They're intense games, emotional games, but those are the ones you want to play in." -- Penguins center Sidney Crosby on rivalry with Washington

"You hate the guys that bumped you out, and all the credit to the Penguins. They've been the standard for the last two seasons and we've had to try to get by them and we have not." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Conor Sheary -- Greg McKegg -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Carter Rowney -- Ryan Reaves

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Hunwick - Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Antti Niemi

Scratched:Josh Archibald , Scott Wilson, Chris Summers

Injured:Ian Cole (jaw)


Capitals projected lineup

Andre Burakovsky -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Jakub Vrana

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Alex Chiasson

Tyler Graovac -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- John Carlson

Christian Djoos -- Aaron Ness

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Nathan Walker, Taylor Chorney

Suspended: Tom Wilson

Injured: None


Status report

Wilson will serve the final game of his four-game suspension for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Samuel Blais in a preseason contest Oct. 1. … Djoos, 23, will make his NHL debut. … Graovac will return to the lineup for the first time since the season opener last Thursday at the Ottawa Senators. … Ruhwedel will play in place of Cole, who took a puck in the mouth against the Nashville Predators on Saturday and is on injured reserve. This is the first game Cole will miss because of injury since joining the Penguins on March 2, 2015.


Stat pack

The Capitals have killed 13 of 14 penalties and scored on three of nine power plays. … Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta's two goals are one more than he had last season, when he played 55 games.


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