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Capitals at Penguins preview

Washington eyes eighth straight win; Pittsburgh tries to move into third place in Metropolitan Division

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CAPITALS (41-21-7) at PENGUINS (37-23-9)



The Game

The Washington Capitals will try for their season-best eighth consecutive victory when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

Washington has outscored its opponents 29-14 during its seven-game winning streak. The Capitals are 9-1-0 in their past 10 games and 13-3-1 in their past 17. They are first in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the New York Islanders.

The Penguins are fourth in the division, six points behind the Capitals. They are even in points with the third-place Carolina Hurricanes but have one fewer regulation/overtime win. The Penguins also hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh is 5-1-2 in its past eight games and 9-3-2 in its past 14. The Penguins have allowed two goals or fewer in five of seven games.


Players to watch

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in his past 12 games, and 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in his past 20. He needs one point to reach 1,200 in the NHL and three goals to tie Brendan Shanahan (656) for 13th place on the all-time list.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who got his 1,200th NHL point March 5, has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his past eight games, and 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in his past 15.


They said it

"The most important thing is just to be in the playoffs. ... Every point is a very important point for us." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

"Obviously, we don't like each other. We don't like that team. It's going to be a hard battle." -- Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Andre Burakovsky -- Nic Dowd -- Travis Boyd

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Nick Jensen

Braden Holtby

Pheonix Copley

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos

Injured: None


Penguins projected lineup

Jared McCann -- Sidney Crosby -- Jake Guentzel

Teddy Blueger -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Dominik Simon -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist

Joseph Blandisi -- Matt Cullen -- Garrett Wilson

Brian Dumoulin -- Zach Trotman

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Marcus Pettersson -- Erik Gudbranson

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith

Scratched; Juuso Riikola

Injured: Olli Maatta (upper body), Bryan Rust (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Chad Ruhwedel (upper body), Zach Aston-Reese (lower body)


Status report

Hagelin, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21, will play in Pittsburgh for the first time since being traded by the Penguins to the Kings on Nov. 14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. ... Aston-Reese is day to day with a lower-body injury sustained against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.


Stat pack

Oshie is two assists from 300 in the NHL. ... Malkin, who has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 17 games, needs two points to reach 1,000 in the NHL.

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