The Caps (12-10-1, 25 points) host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (14-7-4, 32 points ) tonight at Verizon Center.
The Caps are 11-0-2 in their last 13 regular season games against the Penguins but only 3-6-1 in their last ten games and 0-1 under Dale Hunter. The Penguins on the other hand are 5-4-1 in their last ten games and are 3-1-1 since Sidney Crosby returned. Crosby has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in five games since his return from a concussion, while Alex Ovechkin has 18 points (eight goals, ten assists) in 23 games.
Tomas Vokoun (10-6-0, 2.77 GAA, .906 Save pct.) will be in goal for the Caps looking for his second win against Pittsburgh this season. In the first meeting, the Caps won 3-2 in overtime and Vokoun stopped 39 of 41 shots in 63 minutes of work.
Mathieu Perreault will be the healthy forward scratch for the Caps and the forward lines should look like: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer, Eakin-Johansson-Semin, Chimera-Laich-Ward, Hendricks-Halpern-Knuble. All the healthy defenseman got off the ice at the same time so that will be a game time decision on who will be the defensive healthy scratch. Mike Green skated for the fifth time in six days today before practice, but still hasn’t practiced with the team.
The Penguins will be without injured defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Kris Letang tonight which will benefit the Caps since at least one of them are usually on the ice when Alex Ovechkin is.
Sidenote: Bruce Boudreau was hired as the Head Coach of the Anaheim Ducks last night after being fired by the Caps on Monday. It is the fastest fire and hire in NHL history and the seventh NHL head coach to coach two teams in one season.
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner & Brooks Laich had to say after the morning skate today.
Dale Hunter Morning Skate Audio
Alex Ovechkin Morning Skate Audio
Karl Alzner Morning Skate Audio
Brooks Laich Morning Skate Audio
Also listen to what offensive assistant coach Dean Evason had to say about fighting Dale Hunter his rookie year, the transition from one coach to another, Alex Ovechkin and a lot more.
Dean Evason Morning Skate Audio