Hellllooooooooo everybodyyyyy, how are yaaaaa? We've got a heavyweight matchup this afternoon as the top two teams in the Metrosexual Division square off. Penguins (37-17-6) vs Capitals (37-18-6). 12PM.
The Penguins are looking to right the ship following two pathetic back-to-back losses at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. Pittsburgh lost to Buffalo yesterday by a score of 5-2. Evgeni Malkin had both goals for the Penguins and really seemed to be the only player that showed up. If you're interested in division standings in February then you should be happy because the Caps managed to lose yesterday as well, falling to the New Jersey Devils on the road by a score of 3-2. Both teams enter play today tied with 80 points. The Penguins do however, have a game in hand, which means they're technically in first place.
Speaking of first place, Alexander Ovechkin has his sights set on Wayne Gretzky's goal record of 894. Ovi hit the 700 milestone yesterday against the Devils when he fired an absolute laser past goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. He is truly the best pure goal scorer of all-time and needs just nine more goals before he takes over 7th place when he passes former Capital Mike Gartner.
With Mike Sullivan alternating goalies, it seems likely that Matt Murray will draw the start. Murray dominated in the first matchup of the season between these two clubs, making 29/32 saves. Ilya Samsonov went yesterday afternoon in New Jersey so we'll get to see Braden Holtby today. Holtby has struggled lately and is just 4-6-1 in 2020 with a .882 save percentage. Yikes.
Also worth noting: This will be Jason Zucker's first Pens / Caps experience. Zucker (I hardly know her!) was acquired back on February 10th for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a 2020 conditional first-round pick.
The NHL trade deadline is tomorrow at 4PM. The Pens are said to be in the market for another depth forward and or defenseman. Stay tuned.
A bit of good news for the Penguins (which never happens)...Brian Dumoulin, Nick Bjugstad, and John Marino will all travel with the team next week on their west coast trip.
Dominik Kahun should be able to go today. He took warmups yesterday but did not play.
With Malkin's two goals yesterday...he has now scored 20+ goals for 7 consecutive seasons.
Malkin now has 60 points on the season (20G, 40A).
Per Penguins PR, this will be Bryan Rust's 300th career NHL game and Kris Letang's 800th.
Hot take but it would have been unreal for the rivalry had Ovi scored his 700th goal against the Penguins.
That said, with the way the Penguins have been playing lately, he could surpass Gretzky's 894 today.
Per Caps PR, Washington is 5-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs so far this season and 2-0-0 following a loss in the first game of the back-to-back. AKA - buckle up.
Zach Trotman played yesterday in favor of Juuso Riikola. Will be interesting to see who Sullivan turns to today.
The Penguins are 5-1-0 against the Caps dating back to the start of the 2018-2019 season.
The Caps are 1-4-1 over their last 6 home games. Yikes.
Washington acquired defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Sharks on 2/18 for some draft picks.
The next two games of this rivalry will shift to Pittsburgh. The Pens host the Caps March 7th and 22nd.
Trade deadline - 4PM tomorrow.
Tom Wilson drinks pee.
If you're in D.C. today and the Penguins win, go storm those MF'ing steps. Thank you in advance.