PREVIEW: Washington Capitals trending up as they host hot Pittsburgh Penguins

Feb 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Zach Aston-Reese (12) handles the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night as Sidney Crosby begins kind of a second phase of his career.

Crosby became the first player in Pittsburgh history to reach 1,000 games over the weekend. The 33-year-old and three-time winner of the Stanley Cup ranks second in team history — behind Mario Lemieux — with 468 goals, 810 assists and 1,278 points. The team owner leads Crosby in each of those categories.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Penguins, check out #LetsGoPens rumors, rankings, and news here.

Crosby is the 350th NHL player to make it to 1,000 games.

“It’s a special day … but it makes it so much better when you win,” Crosby said after reaching the milestone Saturday. “It was a pretty awesome experience and a day I’ll always remember. But I think I’ll remember the whole day itself and leading up to it, and obviously the fact that we won it. It’s great that we won, but it was just the way that it felt and that I was treated all day was pretty unique.”

Crosby came through once again, posting two assists as Pittsburgh edged the New York Islanders 3-2. Pittsburgh now has won four of its last five games.

In that game, the Penguins took the lead on a Kris Letang goal in the third period. Letang scored twice while Crosby assisted him both times. Crosby was named the No. 1 star.

Goalie Tristan Jarry finished with 33 saves to claim the victory in net.

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The Penguins also have found success against the Capitals, winning three of four this season. But Washington beat the Penguins when the teams met last, Feb. 16. The Caps used tough defense to pull out a 3-1 victory. That came two days after the Pens topped Washington, 6-3.

The Caps come in off a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, their third win in four games.

The Capitals, now that they’ve got their roster back, have been playing stronger of late. They played two matinee games this weekend, looking flat in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday and starting slow before coming on late against the Devils.

“I think the last 10 minutes of the first period, we kind of changed the momentum and we started playing the right way,” Alex Ovechkin said. “I think we started putting pucks deep, we forechecked, we play physical and the goals come.”

And they came in bunches in the third period when Washington scored three to turn around a 2-1 deficit after two. John Carlson scored to tie the game early in the third before T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin notched power-play goals about five minutes apart for a 4-2 lead. The Devils added a late goal, but goalie Craig Anderson got the win in his first start as a Capital.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Capitals, check out #ALLCAPS rumors, rankings, and news here.

Now that Ilya Samsonov is back in D.C. after missing over a month due to COVID-19 issues and going through a training stint with the Hershey Bears, he could be in net in one of the next two games.

–Field Level Media