NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2017-18 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.
A few people predicted that this season would be the begin of the end of Washington’s run of dominance in the NHL. After all, they lost a number of key pieces like Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt, Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams during the summer. But so far, the Caps have showed no signs of slowing down.
They’re 2-0-1 through three games, and they’ve managed to find the back of the net an incredible 14 times during that stretch (they’ve scored at least three goals in every game).
Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are a huge reason why the Capitals have had plenty of offensive success in 2017-18. Ovechkin, who had 33 goals in 82 games last year, is already up to seven goals in three contests this season. Obviously, that won’t continue, but it’s still impressive considering many thought his better days were behind him.
“I think, organizationally, Alex took it to heart that he’s got to keep evolving,” head coach Barry Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “I mean, it’s tougher when you get older. You’ve got to work out harder, you’ve got to do all that stuff. When you’re younger, you could probably cut a couple corners, because the body responds. As you get older, that body has to be the driving force. I think he put a little more work into that area.”
Meanwhile, Kuznetsov has eight assists this season. He’s also registered an assist on each of Ovechkin’s seven goals.
As for the Penguins, this season has kind of been a mixed bag through three games. They opened the season with a 5-4 overtime loss to St. Louis at home, they followed that up by getting obliterated in Chicago by a score of 10-1 and they responded by shutting out Nashville 4-0 on Saturday night.
“Our schedule’s been tough,” winger Phil Kessel said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune. “We won last year, and we played back-to-back opening nights and three in four. It’s a tough start. But I thought we played well last game. We just gotta move on from there.”
Of course, these two teams met in the playoffs, again, in 2017 with the Penguins coming out on top (again) in seven games.