The Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Washington on Sunday to face a Capitals team still looking for consistency under new coach Adam Oates.
The Capitals have struggled this season under Oates, winning for just the second time on Friday night in a big 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Goals have come at a premium for the Capitals, who average just 2.25 goals per game, due in large part to Alex Ovechkin's struggles at finding the back of the net. Mike Ribeiro, acquired over the summer via trade, has been the lone bright spot for Washington and leads the team with one goal and seven assists through eight games.
The Penguins, meanwhile, have recovered from a bit of an early-season slump with wins over the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh outscored the Rangers and Devils by combined score of 8-1 in the wins, with both Tomas Vokoun and Marc-Andre Fleury standing tall in net as the Penguins have allowed just 2.38 games per season.
It wasn't that long ago that meetings between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins were some of the biggest games on the NHL schedule, two powerhouse teams clashing led by the two best players in the league. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lead the Penguins with 10 points in eight games, while Ovechkin sits with just three points on the season.
Perhaps a nationally televised game against the Penguins, with the Capitals now in desperation mode, will be the spark Ovechkin and Washington needs to get back on track.
Puck drops at 12:30 p.m. ET, and will be carried nationally on NBC in the U.S. and on TSN2 in Canada.