It’s a battle for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division on the ice in the nation’s capital. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the road as they make the trip to face the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh was knocked off 5-2 on home ice by Buffalo Saturday afternoon in their last contest. Washington was dropped 3-2 on the road by New Jersey Saturday afternoon in their previous contest. The teams split the last 10 meetings between the teams but the Penguins have won three straight in the series. That includes a 4-3 road victory in the first meeting between the teams this season on February 2.
Pittsburgh Penguins Look to Bounce BackPittsburgh dropped their second straight game as they were unable to defend home ice against the Sabres Saturday afternoon. The Penguins entered Saturday night tied for the Metropolitan Division lead with Washington. Pittsburgh is very effective at lighting the lamp as they average 3.27 goals per game on the year. The Penguins are solid in their own zone and get quality goaltending as they allow 2.68 goals per contest. Pittsburgh is fairly average on the power play this season as they have converted 21.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Penguins are solid in the penalty killing department as they are successful in 82.6 percent of their shorthanded situations. They have six shorthanded goals on the year.
With this goal, Evgeni Malkin earns his 20th of the season.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 22, 2020
This is his seventh-consecutive, and 12th season overall, with 20+ goals.
Malkin joins Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux as the only players in franchise history with 12 seasons with 20+ goals in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/QDy02yiDwt
Against the Sabres, the Penguins were struggling early and it ended up costing them the game. Pittsburgh held a 12-10 edge in shots on goal but trailed 3-0 after the opening period as they were unable to get their offensive attack going. The second period saw the Penguins with a 13-11 edge in shots on goal and scored the lone goal of the period to trail 3-1 after 40 minutes. Evgeni Malkin scored his 19th goal of the season, unassisted, at 11:10 to get the Penguins on the board. In the final period, the Penguins held an 18-5 edge in shots on goal but were outscored 2-1 to end up with the loss. After giving up a pair of goals to trail 5-1, Malkin scored his second of the game and 20th of the year at 17:57 off an assist from Patric Hornqvist. That closed the scoring. Tristan Jarry made 21 saves for the Penguins, who were outshot 43-26, in the loss.
Washington Capitals Try to Regain Division LeadWashington dropped their fourth straight game as they gave up a late goal to fall on the road in New Jersey. The Capitals entered Saturday night sitting in a tie for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with the Penguins as both teams entered with 80 points. Washington is a prolific offensive team as they average 3.47 goals per game this season. The Capitals are average on the defensive end of the ice as they allow 3.03 goals per game on the year. Washington is fairly average with the man advantage as they cash in 20.6 percent of their power play chances this season. The Capitals are excellent in penalty killing as they successfully work through 84 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.
Against the Devils, the Capitals were held in check for the most part as they ended up falling short in the contest. Washington held an 11-7 edge in shots on goal in the opening period but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, the Capitals were outshot 13-11 and saw each team scoring once to trail 2-1 after 40 minutes. After falling behind 2-0, Tom Wilson got the Capitals on the board with his 19th of the year, on the power play, at 14:44 off assists from John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom. In the third period, Washington had a 13-9 edge in shots on goal with each team scoring once to seal their fate. Alex Ovechkin tied the game with his 42nd of the year and his 700th of his career at 4:50 off assists from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nick Jensen. Washington gave up the winning goal with just 1:59 remaining in regulation. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for the Capitals, who held a 35-29 edge in shots on goal, in the loss. Braden Holtby is in line to get the start in goal here.
The top trends for this contest:
- No Key Trends
- Capitals are 7-1 in their last 8 Sunday games