Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Washington Capitals hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:
— The Capitals are seeking their seventh consecutive home win for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012. Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, they have the most home wins (133) in the NHL.
— The Penguins have been held to one goal in each of their last three road games. The last time they were held to fewer than two goals in four straight road games was in Sidney Crosby’s rookie season (Nov. 27-Dec. 13, 2005).
— Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Penguins and Capitals as divisional rivals since they competed in the Patrick Division in 1992-93. On March 28, 1993, Pittsburgh won the most recent intra-divisional clash, 4-1, at the old Cap Centre, behind a goal and two assists from Mario Lemieux.
— Through 21 games, Pittsburgh is averaging 2.76 goals per game (T-11th, Boston and Calgary). Since 1987-88 (25 seasons), the Pens have led the NHL in scoring five times (including 2011-12, 3.33 goals/game; 2012-13, 3.38 goals/game) and have only finished outside the top-five on eight occasions.
— The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin bring the best out in one another. In 18 regular-season games between Washington and Pittsburgh in which the talented trio all played, they combined for 27 goals, 76 points and 252 shots on goal. (Elias Sports Bureau)
— Crosby needs two goals to become only the sixth player to score 250 career goals as a member of the Penguins. (Mario Lemieux – 690; Jaromir Jagr – 439; Jean Pronovost – 316; Rick Kehoe – 312; Kevin Stevens – 260).
— The Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, who is second in the NHL in assists (19, one behind the Sharks’ Joe Thornton) has the most three-assist games since he entered the league in 2007-08, with 24. Sidney Crosby (22) and Evgeni Malkin (21) rank third and fourth in the NHL during that span. (H. Sedin, 23).
— On Monday, the Penguins’ 25-year-old rookie, Brian Gibbons, became the second player this season to open the scoring of a game with his first NHL goal in his debut. The Oilers’ 24-year-old rookie, Luke Gazdic, also did so in his team’s season opener, on Oct. 1. (Elias Sports Bureau)