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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, February 21st (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (31-19-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (36-19-5), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to win their season series against an Eastern Conference rival tonight, when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.

This will be Washington's first game at Pittsburgh's new arena because the Caps' earlier trip to the Steel City was for the Winter Classic at Heinz Field. The Capitals won that outdoor meeting at the home of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, posting a 3-1 decision in the rain-soaked battle.

Pittsburgh's only win in three meetings with the Caps this year came in the first encounter between the clubs on Dec. 23 in D.C.

All told, Washington has won two straight, six of seven and nine of the last 11 games in this series. The Capitals have also taken six in a row in Pittsburgh, a streak that includes the Winter Classic victory as well as five wins at the Penguins' previous building, Mellon Arena.

The Penguins' last home win over the Caps came in an overtime victory on Dec. 27, 2007.

Pittsburgh enters tonight as the fourth seed in the East and Washington is five points back in fifth.

Washington and Pittsburgh were both in action on Sunday, as the Capitals recorded a close win in Buffalo and the Pens were handed a shootout loss in Chicago.

Marcus Johansson's power-play goal midway through the third period lifted the Capitals to a 2-1 win over the Sabres at HSBC Arena.

Mathieu Perreault had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who had lost four of five coming into the game. Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 shots in the win.

"You can get frustrated sometimes on the power play, especially when you're not scoring," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "We had to persevere if we were going to succeed. You need some luck, too, but if you put enough pucks on the net you're going to score."

The Caps have played their last four games without defenseman Mike Green, who is dealing with an inner-ear problem. He is with the team and is questionable for tonight's test.

Tonight's test marks the end of a five-game road trip for the Capitals, who are 14-12-3 as the guest this season.

The Penguins, meanwhile, dropped a 3-2 decision to the Blackhawks after Patrick Kane scored the only goal of the shootout. In the third round of the shootout, Kane skated in and deked to the forehand before stuffing the puck in past the outstretched right pad of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Tyler Kennedy was the last hope for Pittsburgh, but Corey Crawford made a stop on the lifted backhand for the win.

Brett Sterling and Matt Cooke each scored for the Penguins, who have lost three of their last four. Fleury finished the contest with 29 stops.

Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal left Sunday's game in overtime after getting hit in the neck with a puck on a shot by teammate Kris Letang. Staal's status for tonight's game is uncertain.

The Penguins are playing the first of two straight on home ice tonight. Pittsburgh, which is 20-10-1 as the host this year, will also host San Jose on Wednesday.

02/21 10:43:21 ET


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