“I think the history of this goes back way before Sidney and Alex started,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday. “I think it’s always been a good, competitive matchup with Pittsburgh and Washington.”
Washington is 10-0-2 in its last 12 regular-season games against Pittsburgh, a stretch that includes a seven-game series in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs that the Penguins claimed. The Capitals have found plenty of success in those recent regular-season trips to Western Pennsylvania, though, going 7-0-1, whether it was at the old Civic Arena, Heinz Field or Consol Energy Center.
Over the course of their history, the most fuel for the feud has come from the teams’ eight meetings in the playoffs. The Penguins have prevailed seven times.
• Photos: Capitals-Penguins playoff history
As colleague Tarik El-Bashir wrote for Thursday’s paper, injuries to key players have done little to discourage the Penguins, who have the best record in the NHL at 3-0-1. A season ago, they reached the playoffs despite missing Crosby, Malkin and Jordan Staal for prolonged, and overlapping, periods of time.
So how has Pittsburgh found a way to still be successful?
“I think they have chemistry,” Alex Ovechkin said. “They won, couple years ago, Stanley Cup and you know most of the guys who was there on that team. So they have chemistry, they have experience they know how to play.”
Said Boudreau: “They’re a good team. They’ve always been a good team. You don’t get  points [in 2010-11] without those guys, without being a good team. They’re just good. They’re a difficult team to play against, there’s a reason they’re 3-0-1 too starting with the first three on the road out west. When you can do that you know you’ve got a good team.”