NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, February 3rd (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (5-3-0) at Washington Capitals (2-5-1), 12:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After holding onto a third-period lead last time out, the Washington Capitals try to make it two victories in a row for the first time this season as they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon.
The Capitals lost their first four of the season before picking up a home win over Buffalo on Jan. 27. They then hit the road for a pair of games in Ottawa and Toronto and lost both 3-2 despite taking a one-goal edge into the third period both times.
Washington next began a three-game homestand on Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers and found itself in a tie game after 40 minutes before getting third-period goals from Troy Brouwer and Wojtek Wolski. Though the Flyers got one back, the Caps held on for a 3-2 win.
Nicklas Backstrom added a goal and an assist, while Braden Holtby ended with 29 saves.
"We did really well in the neutral zone," Wolski said. "I think the last couple of games in the third period we seemed to break down and get away from what we want to be doing in the neutral zone. I think tonight we really stuck together and reminded each other to stay wide. We did that really well, we got a lot of turnovers and pucks going the other way."
The Caps will continue their residency without defenseman John Erskine, who received a three-game suspension on Saturday for delivering an elbow to the head of Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the first period. No penalty was called on the play, but Simmonds did not return to the game.
The Capitals will battle the Penguins on Sunday in the first of three meetings this season, including a return engagement in Pittsburgh on Thursday. They have won five of seven and are 12-1-3 in the last 16 meetings with the Pens overall while notching a 5-1-2 record in the last eight played in Washington.
Pittsburgh, though, has been a strong road club this season, going 4-1-0. It will play three of its next four as the guest after winning for the first time at home (1-2-0) with a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz had a goal and two assists each, while Marc- Andre Fleury made 15 saves.
"We were able to get things out of our zone quickly and the penalty kill did great," said Crosby. "We made a big commitment to our defense today and it was nice to get that reward."
Pittsburgh also got goals from a pair of defensemen in Kris Letang and Robert Bortuzzo, who scored his first career NHL goal, while forward Brandon Sutter notched his first goal and second point since being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes this past offseason.
02/03 10:30:41 ET