Alexander Ovechkin will lead the Washington Capitals into Mellon Arena to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
Crosby's Penguins have consistently gained the upper hand against the Capitals in recent history, going 3-0-1 against Washington last season.
Heading into tonight's game, the Penguins have posted a 2-1-1 record, with three of their first four games being decided in overtime.
The Capitals are 2-1-0 this season and have registered an impressive 13 goals in their first three games.
Penguins' winger Matt Cooke is questionable for tonight's game against his former team. Cooke has missed the past two days of practice with an undisclosed injury. Viktor Kozlov and Bryan Pothier will be out of the lineup for the Caps.
The Penguins are hoping captain Sidney Crosby can snap out of his early season scoring drought. He has been held to just two points—both assists—in the Penguins' four games this season. Sid is on the verge of scoring goal number 100 in his career.
Another key in the game will be the Penguins power play. They have scored a power play goal in each of their last three games, but their chances with the man advantage far outweigh the percentage of times they have converted.
Any team that boasts Ovechkin as their star player becomes accustomed to receiving accolades about their offense. However, the Capitals defensive corps might be one of the most underrated in the Eastern Conference.
The Caps held the Vancouver Canucks to just 10 shots on Monday, and the big three of Mike Green, Tom Poti, and Shaone Morrison looked stellar in their own end. Additionally, Green has already recorded five points—three goals, two assists—this season, proving that he could be among the most offensively productive defensemen in the NHL this season.
In the previous 12 meetings between these two teams, Pittsburgh has a 10-1-1 record.
Tonight marks the first meeting of the 2008-09 season between the Caps and Pens. As usual, Crosby and Ovechkin are sure to be the centers of attention. However, each of these teams poses other potential threats to their opponents besides the two superstars.
The Penguins' second line of Sykora-Malkin-Staal is still looking to regain the chemistry that led the Penguins in scoring last season, while second-year forward Tyler Kennedy is looking to duplicate his performance in Sweden here at home.
Alexander Semin scored two goals in the Capitals' last game and is currently leading Washington in scoring with three goals and three assists. Niklas Backstrom and veteran Sergei Fedorov will also garner a lot of attention from Penguins' blue liners.
The puck drops at 7:38PM in Pittsburgh. This game should be very exciting as the Ovechkin vs. Crosby saga part IV begins tonight.
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