NHL on NBCSN: Ovechkin looks to pick up 1000th point in clash with Pens

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

Alex Ovechkin hit an important milestone in Monday’s win over the Canadiens. He scored the 544th goal of his NHL career, which tied him with Maurice “Rocket” Richard for 29th on the all-time list in that category.

On Wednesday night, he’ll have an opportunity to hit another big number, as he’s just one point shy of 1000 for his career.

It’ll be a special moment for Ovechkin whenever he hits the 1000 point mark, but it would be that much more memorable if he did it at home and against his oldest rival, Sidney Crosby.

“It means I’m getting older,” Ovechkin said of his growing list of accomplishments, per the Washington Post. “I just remember my first year, my first game, [like] it was five minutes ago. Time move forward, and time move quick. So you just have to enjoy every second, every moment.”

Even if you put the “Ovechkin watch” aside, the Pens-Caps rivalry is always a must-watch. Heading into tonight’s game, Washington owns the longest winning streak in the league at six games, while Pittsburgh is second with five.

It sounds like the Capitals will also get a boost in this one, as T.J. Oshie is expected to return to the lineup after missing his team’s last game because of an upper-body injury.

If the Caps want to push their winning streak to seven games, they’ll have to do it against a team that has just one regulation loss since Dec. 1.

So much for that Stanley Cup hangover.

Sure, the Pens have suffered a couple of embarrassing defeats in 2016-17. There was that 7-1 loss to these same Capitals back in November, a 6-2 defeat to Minnesota in that same month, a 7-1 loss to Columbus in December, and 4-0 and 5-1 losses to Montreal and Nashville in October.

But as they’ve shown time and time again, it isn’t about how much you lose by, it’s about how you respond the following game.

“When you go through a humbling experience like that, this group is a proud group, and we want to make sure we respond the right way,” Sullivan said of the embarrassing loss to the Capitals, per the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I don’t think players or teams forget those experiences. I think they use them as motivation to make sure we bring the necessary focus, the commitment level, to be at our best.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets are still at the top of the Metro Division standings, but now that they’ve dropped three of their last four games, these two teams have a chance to close the gap in a big way.

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On the injury front, the Penguins sent goalie Tristan Jarry to the AHL earlier this morning. That likely means that Matt Murray will be back on the active roster. At this point, we still don’t know if he’ll start or be the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury.