January 11, 2017 @ 8:00 PM - Verizon Center
TV: NBC Sports Network
The Penguins continue to slowly get up to speed in 2017, playing their first game in three nights after an eight day rest to start off the year. The rest of the league might be in trouble when they start hitting their stride. After a slow start turned into a 6-2 beating of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Pens will hit the road to take on the Washington Capitals in a big Metropolitan Division showdown, with the winner just a single point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for first not only in the Metro, but in the entire league as well.
It could be a historic night in Washington as Alexander Ovechkin sits on 999 career points entering the game. With 879 career games played, a point tonight would make Ovechkin the 24th fastest to reach the milestone in NHL history, narrowly beating out Pierre Turgeon (881 GP) and Luc Robitaille (882 GP). His 1,000th NHL point will be a night to remember, but it comes in a season to forget for Ovechkin. With 19 goals and 14 assists on the year, his 0.825 points per game are a career low, and if he continues on this pace he will finish with fewer than 40 goals for just the 3rd time in his career.
While it's been a slow start to the season for Ovechkin, it's still been good enough to earn him a trip to Los Angeles for the All-Star Game, and he'll be joined on the Metropolitan Division team by fellow Capital Braden Holtby. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Holtby is having an even stronger season this year, with a 0.931 SV% and 1.90 GAA through 32 starts, ranking him 2nd in both categories in the league and firmly planting himself not only in the Vezina conversation this season, but the conversation for best goaltender in the league.
- Matt Murray will return to the lineup in backup duty tonight as Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start.
- With Matt Murray getting back to full strength, the Penguins have reassigned Tristan Jarry to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and have recalled David Warsofsky
- The NHL released the All-Star Game rosters yesterday, and Evgeni Malkin will join Sidney Crosby on Team Metro.