Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins Preview

Sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division will be on the line Sunday afternoon when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh enters the matinee with back-to-back losses after collecting at least a point in 25 of the previous 31 games (23-6-2).

Evgeni Malkin scored twice in the Penguins’ 5-2 setback against Buffalo on Saturday afternoon to reach the 20-goal plateau for the seventh straight season. While Malkin and fellow former Hart Trophy recipient Sidney Crosby each had an assist in a 4-3 victory over Washington on Feb. 2, the latter has been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games for the first time since returning from core muscle surgery.

Washington Capitals Preview

The Washington Capitals have lost a season-high four in a row (0-3-1) and six of their last seven games (1-5-1) heading into Sunday afternoon’s clash against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Although both teams have sputtered of late, the winner of the matinee will take over sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Saturday’s 3-2 setback to New Jersey, however, will long be remembered for captain Alex Ovechkin becoming the eighth member of the NHL’s 700-goal club after he scored early in the third period. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient has tormented Pittsburgh throughout his career with 59 points (35 goals, 24 assists) in 57 encounters, although he was held off the scoresheet in a 4-3 loss to the Penguins on Feb. 2.