The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the road this Wednesday as they travel to Washington to face the Capitals. The game is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET at the Verizon Center.
The Penguins who are currently in the number 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-3-2 won their last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In this game, they relied heavily on their goalie Matt Murray who made 35 saves, while the offense scored 4 goals against the 1 goal made by the Maple Leafs. Murray has now won all 4 games where he has started, however, neither him nor backup goalie Marc-Andre Fleury have played three games in a row after Murray returned from his broken hand, this strategy seems to be working for them so far, and I believe it continue for the foreseeable future.
Despite the impressive 35 saves from Murray, Torontoís goalie Frederik Andersen made 45 saves in this game; after he made 30 saves the night before when the Maple Leafs won against the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Andersen has been terrific lately, but the Penguins offense was just too much for him and the Maple Leafs.
Washington, who is currently in the 5th spot in the NHL Eastern Conference with a record of 9-4-1, lost 5-1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. The loss came less than 24 hours after they stopped the hottest team in the league, the Chicago Blackhawksí winning streak.
In the first period of Saturdayís game, the Capitals displayed their worst defense of the entire season, they continually allowed the Hurricanes to fire shots both from the in tight and the interior of the ice; Carolina took advantage of this and scored 2 goals in the first period.
So, what went wrong with Washington? Per defenseman Matt Niskanen, it was a combination of things, but mostly it came down to losing battles and break downs in position to try and cover those lost battles, which gave Carolina ample opportunities to pressure the Capital into making mistakes, and they made a lot of mistakes in this game.
The Capitals scored first and they looked to be in good form in the first minutes of the game, however, after the goal made by Kuznetsov, things became unraveled and that one goal turned out to be the only one of the night.
So, what can we expect from the match between these two conference rivals on Wednesday? The Penguins will be well rested, they do not have any games schedules until that day, the Capitols however, are on the road traveling to Columbus Ohio to play against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday November 15th, after the game they travel back home to play the Penguins on Wednesday.
A well-rested Penguins, should have the advantage in this game even if they are the visiting team, they have demonstrated they possess both great offense and defense and they have a decent away record of 3-2-1. The Capitals looked like they were finding their north after they defeated the Blackhawks, but their loss to Carolina, who is the worst team in the Eastern Conference, shows how inconsistent they can be, maybe this means they could blow Pittsburgh off the ice but I doubt that. I am siding with the Penguins in this game.