Pittsburgh Penguins: Story lines against the Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: Sidney Crosby /

The Pittsburgh Penguins return to action as they host the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been hot. Red hot.

“Pittsburgh Penguins. So hot right now. Pittsburgh Penguins.” – Mugatu, probably.

They look to continue their three game win streak against the division rival Washington Capitals. The Caps are ranked first in the Metro with 65 points. The Pens are second with 60.

Here are some story lines to watch for on Friday night.

Chasing 400

It feels like Sidney Crosby has been sitting at 399 total career goals for a while now, even though in reality it’s only been six games.

While it’s only normal to root for Sid to score, career goal 400 is a biggie. Being the superstitious fellow he is, I’m willing to bet he wants to get over this hump as soon as possible. Those milestone goals could seem like a hurdle, and this is a guy that obsesses over the color of tape on his stick and the amount of sweat in his hat.

Once goal 400 comes, the floodgates could open. Unhampered by the mile stone goal, maybe Sid could make his current 10 game point streak (20 points) just the tip of the iceberg.

Juggling Lines

It was revealed on the Penguins website that Conor Sheary had deemed week to week with a lower body injury after the Sharks game on Tuesday.

This means Bryan Rust will likely slide onto the first line with Dominik Simon and Crosby. When a team is rolling you never want to change what you don’t have to, so this will test the Penguins hot streak for sure.

This also means we’ll likely see Ryan Reaves suit back up and gobble up some fourth line minutes.  Reaves has been scratched the past few games, but in an interview on the Penguins website, he’s looking forward to joining the rivalry.

"“A lot of love on the ice. Two teams who like each other, a lot of handshakes and smiles (laughs). But no, obviously a physical, in your face game, I expect a lot of the same tonight. It’s a big divisional game down the stretch here, they’re going to start getting a little more heated.”"

Ovechkin vs. Crosby

Alex Ovechkin vs. Crosby (or Malkin for that matter) is always going to be a headline when Pittsburgh plays Washington.

The two superstars have gone head to head their entire careers, and their rivalry has turned their teams into rivals as well.

Looking at the overall breakdown against the Penguins, Crosby does possess a point advantage.

Ovechkin vs the Pens
50 GP – 31 Goals, 22 Assists

Crosby vs the Caps
43 GP – 20 Goals, 41 Assists

It will be interesting to see how the game tonight plays out. Crosby is riding a 10 game point streak and Ovechkin leads the NHL with 30 goals. It’s like clash of the titans. On ice. Clash of the ice titans? Sure we’ll go with that.

Next: Should the Penguins retire #68?

What’s Next?

After the tilt with Washington, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The game starts at 7:00 PM EST.