Rivalry Time! Caps and Penguins Battle for First

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Posted November 18, 2013
Alex Ovechkin has been (mostly) all smiles so far this season. (Caps Outsider)

Alex Ovechkin has 17 goals this season in 19 games. (Caps Outsider)

The Capitals took over 1st place in the Metropolitan Division with a big win over the Blues on Sunday night. The game pitted two players who have gotten off to hot starts so far this season in Alex Ovechkin and Alex Steen. Ovechkin outshined Steen at the Verizon Center, chipping in two goals while Steen was held without a point. The win gave the Caps 25 points on the year, passing the Pittsburgh Penguins for tops in the division.

Pittsburgh really separated themselves early in the season thanks to a 7-1-0 start, but are just 5-7-0 since. The Penguins’ slump has allowed teams like Washington, Carolina, and the New York Rangers to catch up in the division race. The Rangers and Hurricanes come into tonight’s action only four points back of Pittsburgh. Carolina has Boston at home tonight, while Pittsburgh hosts Anaheim. Both Boston and Anaheim sit in 2nd place in their respective conferences heading into Monday’s games.

Sidney Crosby continues to lead the Penguins to near the top of the standings and leads the league in points at the quarter mark of the regular season. However, Crosby has only two points in his last five games (a goal against the Flyers and an assist against the Predators).

Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s Penguins-Ducks game, the Capitals’ home date with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night will be for first in the Metropolitan Division barring a possible point coming from an overtime loss for either team. Each team has a dynamite center/wing combo on their top lines (Washington’s Nick Backstom/Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby/Chris Kunitz). Surprisingly, Evgeni Malkin is stuck at three goals and has not scored in his last five games. Jussi Jokinen has stepped up for Pittsburgh so far this season with eight goals.

Count Wednesday night as another installment of Capitals-Penguins with plenty at stake. Although it’s early, these two clubs figure to be at the top of the standings when the season ends and every head-to-head matchup is key to get a leg up in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference standings. The Capitals host the Penguins Wednesday night at 8 p.m.

Here’s Ovie the Bulldog getting ready for Wednesday’s game.

Ben Barr

Ben Barr

I will be graduating in December 2013 from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. I am excited at the opportunity to start my professional career in sports journalism a semester early. Currently, I am working as an On-Call Sports Producer at Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C and a Part-Time Reporter for 106.7 The Fan in Lanham, Md., and a Contributor for Capitals Outsider. I have had some awesome internship experiences around the D.C. area throughout my college years. I began with WTOP Sports and enjoyed covering the Capitals, Nationals, and Orioles. Then, I interned with 106.7 The Fan in Lanham, Md. It was a great opportunity to learn about the inner workings of sports talk shows and sports update anchoring there. With NBC4 in D.C., I got to try my hand at sports highlight producing. It was an awesome first experience with a sports section of a TV station in a great market. Finally, I got the chance to intern with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. I really enjoyed being around my hometown sports teams there, including helping to cover the Union and going to Eagles training camp. As for extra-curricular activities at UMD, I’ve worked with WMUC Sports since the start of my freshman year. Currently, I am the Co-Sports Director overseeing talk shows, broadcasts, the station web site, news crews, and the recruitment of potential new members. I have broadcasted Maryland men’s and women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, field hockey, men’s soccer, and men’s club ice hockey. I have also enjoyed having my own talk show over the years and audio reporting about the men’s basketball team.
Ben Barr
Ben Barr

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