No Capitals-Penguins game is complete without both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin on the ice, but the renewal of hockey’s most exciting rivalry is reason enough to be excited for 7 p.m. to roll around despite the Pittsburgh captain’s absence.
A few notes and links to check out ahead of tonight’s faceoff at Consol Energy Center:
— Washington has kept Pittsburgh scoreless for 157:47, dating back to the second period of the Winter Classic last season.
— The Capitals are 11-1-2 with two shootout losses against the Penguins since 2008, and they have gone 7-0-0 when playing in Pittsburgh.
— Alex Ovechkin has registered 32 points (18 goals and 14 assists) in 24 career games against the Penguins. Nicklas Backstrom has 22 points (one goal, 21 assists) in 16 games against Pittsburgh.
— Watch out for Mike Knuble tonight. He has 45 points (30 goals, 15 assists) in 45 career games against the Penguins and led the Capitals against them last season with four points in four games. The veteran winger has scored a point in 12 straight regular-season games against Pittsburgh.
— The Penguins are a perfect 16-for-16 on the penalty kill. The Capitals are 2-for-12 on the power play, with both those goals coming on three-on-fives. Less-than-ideal conditions for Washington to revive its man-advantage unit. (Japers’ Rink)
Around the Caps blogosphere
— Pregaming for Caps-Pens with some Haterade. (RMNB)
— Crosby on the brain. (Peerless)
— Joel Ward and Karl Alzner play a little catch at Consol Energy Center. (Capitals Overtime)
— Can Washington replicate its success on the PK from last year? (On Frozen Blog)
News and notes, and a little trash talk from the Pens’ side
— The Caps, and Ovechkin, have been good in Pittsburgh. Plus some not-so-nice-but-kinda-funny Photoshop work. (Pensblog)
— Cautiously optimistic about Crosby. (Pensburgh)
— Pens re-sign Chris Kunitz...’s hands for a bargain. (Get To Our Game)
— Not a fan of Caps fans. (From the Point)
Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, and look out for an open thread and tonight’s lines in a bit.