NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The Capitals and Penguins will go head-to-head for the first time since each team’s regular season opener on Oct. 13. That night, not only did the Caps watch the Pens win the game in a shootout, but they also watched them raise their 2016 Stanley Cup banner.
This matchup always provides great entertainment value even when things aren’t going well for one or both of these teams.
Washington has dropped back-to-back games and three of their last four contests. Surprisingly, it’s their offense that’s let them down during this tough stretch.
In their last four games, they’ve only managed to score four even-strength goals.
“It’s up to the group,” Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “I mean, everybody’s capable of offense. We’ve got to just generate. You know, some guys have got to find the back of the net. Some guys have got to be committed to trying to score. Right now, some guys are not committed enough to score, so they’re going to be on the outside. They’re not going to score.”
Also, who hasn’t found the back of the net in the last four games? You guessed it, Alex Ovechkin.
He had four shots on goal in last night’s loss to the Blue Jackets, but played just 14:12. That’s shockingly low by his standards.
Trotz made some major line changes heading into the game against Columbus including putting Ovechkin with Jay Beagle, and that clearly didn’t work.
It’ll be interesting to see if a head-to-head matchup with rival Sidney Crosby is just what the doctor ordered for the Russian sniper.
Things have been much better for Crosby than they have been for Ovechkin. The Penguins captain is off to the best start in his career.
Since returning from a concussion nine games ago, Crosby’s scored an incredible 10 goals and three assists. So much for him being a pass-first player.
“I don’t know if it’s ever happened,” Crosby said of having more goals than assists, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I can honestly say that I’ve never seen that. For whatever reason, that’s just the way it’s worked out.
“I don’t feel like I’m looking to shoot any more. That’s one thing I have to constantly remind myself of, to have that shooting mentality. I would probably look to pass most times.”
Incredibly enough, he’s been held pointless in just one game this season.
Pittsburgh got even more good news ahead of tonight’s game. Nick Bonino, who missed Monday’s practice, will suit up tonight.