Pregame primer: Pens look to make history vs. Caps

Pregame primer: Pens look to make history vs. Caps
January 15, 2014, 5:15 pm
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Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, right, and Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) skate during the second period of the NHL Winter Classic outdoor hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

News and notes as the Capitals [22-16-8, 52 points] visit the Pittsburgh Penguins [33-12-2, 68 points] tonight at ConsolEnergyCenter [8 p.m., NBCSN]:

Ovi vs. Sid: Tonight’s matchup features the NHL’s leading goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin [33 goals], against the league’s top point producer, Sidney Crosby [67 points]. In their last meeting on Nov. 20, Crosby recorded one goal and one assist in a 4-0 win. The Pens outshot the Caps 40-18 in that game. In 26 career games against the Caps, Crosby has 15 goals and 30 assists for 45 points. He is a plus-4 with just 6 penalty minutes. In 32 career games against Pittsburgh Ovechkin has 22 goals and 18 assists for 40 points. He is a plus-18 with 22 penalty minutes.

Neuvy vs. Fleury: Tonight’s goaltending matchup has Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury [26-10-1, 2.24 GAA, .918 save percentage] facing Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth [3-3-1, 2.72, .916]. In 24 career starts against the Caps, Fleury is 14-7-2 with a 2.48 GAA and .914 save percentage, with two shutouts. Against the Penguins, Neuvirth is 2-0-2 with a 1.71 GAA and .937 save percentage.

RELATED: [Oates picks Neuvirth to face Penguins]

Trending: The Pens have won 12 straight games at ConsolEnergyCenter, tied for the franchise record. Their last home loss came back on Nov. 13 against the Flyers. They are 19-3-0 at home this season and 13-2-1 in their last 16 games overall. The Caps are playing their fifth game in seven nights. They are 2-0-2 so far in this stretch. On the road they are 8-8-4 this season. The Caps have lost five straight to the Penguins and have been outscored 17-6 in their last four meetings, but they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 visits to Pittsburgh.

Skating down hill: During their 12-game home winning streak, the Penguins have played 489 minutes, 27 seconds of hockey. Of that, they have trailed just 73:38. The Pens have outscored their opponents 49-27 during their home streak. Sidney Crosby has at least a point in 16 straight hoe games [8-17-25].

Sochi bound: The Pens have seven players heading to the 2014 Olympics: Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin [USA], Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz [Canada], Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta [Finland], and Evgeni Malkin [Russia].

Oates vs. Bylsma: Capitals coach Adam Oates and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma were teammates together with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Oates has yet to beat Bylsma as an NHL head coach.

One-goal for Nick: In 22 career games against the Penguins, Caps center Nicklas Backstrom has 1 goal and 24 assists.

O from D: Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen has five game-winning goals this season, most by an NHL defenseman

Quotable: Caps left wing Brook Laich on conserving energy tonight: “The one thing we have to make sure of during the game is that if you go offensively you have to make sure you have enough juice to get back defensively. Don’t over-extend the shifts, keep them short and that way we stay fresh throughout the game.”