Saturday, February 3, 2007

Caps/Penguins Preview

Washington Capitals (21-24-7, 49 points)
Pittsburgh Penguins (25-17-8, 58 points)

Television: Comcast Sportsnet
Radio: Sportstalk 980-AM
Gametime: 1:00 PM ET

Following their embarrassing performance in Florida on Thursday night, the Capitals travel to Pittsburgh for a Saturday afternoon matinée with the Penguins at the Mellon Arena. The Caps head into the game having lost three straight and nine of their last ten games on the road. On the other hand, the Penguins have been on a roll as of late riding a five game winning streak entering today's contest.

One of the problems that has plagued the Caps all year, and especially as of late with injuries, has been the play of their defensemen. They hope to get a big boost today from Milan Jurcina, who is expected to make his debut with the team after being acquired from Boston Thursday afternoon for a 4th round pick in 2008. He took Brian Pothier's spot on the active roster after Pothier was placed on the injured reserve list yesterday with a concussion. He could see action on a defensive pairing with his former AHL Providence Bruins teammate Shaone Morrisonn. His hard slap shot could also give him some time on the second team power-play.

While the Capitals were struggling in Florida, the Penguins were busy blowing a 4-2 lead at home against the Montreal Canadians. They were able to regroup and come away with two points after Evgeni Malkin won the game for them in the shootout. The win moved the Penguins into a three-way tie for six place in the Eastern Conference.

It's a tale of two teams going in opposite directions as the Penguins have posted a 9-2-2 record during the new year, while the Caps have gone 5-8-0 for 2007.

Alex Ovechkin enters the game looking to extend his career high 13 game point scoring streak. After his goal against the Panthers he now has 33 on the year to go along with 37 assists for 70 points on the season, putting him in a tie for second in the NHL with the Lightning's Martin St. Louis, 12 points behind the Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

The game will mark the end of a three game road trip for the Caps, which up to now has been winless. They will return home with another matinée on Super Bowl Sunday against the New York Islanders at 1:00 PM ET at the Verizon Center. To purchase tickets visit

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