The ABC hockey schedule continues this Saturday afternoon with a Metropolitan game, where Alex Ovechkin and Washington Capitals pay a visit to longtime friend Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, with coverage starting at 3 p.m. ET and simultaneous broadcasting on ESPN+.
To help you prepare for the game, we’ve put together a guide on all the key players to watch for each team, including in-depth statistical insights from ESPN stats and info, and more.
This season, ESPN+ will broadcast 75 exclusive regular season games, with ABC and ESPN broadcasting 28 regular season exclusives for a total of 103 games. The full broadcast schedule can be found here.
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3 PM ET | Watch the live broadcast on ESPN +
Line: Pittsburgh -140 | Above under: 6
ESPN Energy Ratings: 15th
Leading scorer: Alex Ovechkin 81 points in 68 matches
2021-22 record: 10-22-38 (86 points) 4th place in the metro division
The Capitals has a 14-6-1 record against the Metropolitan Division this season, the best of any team within this division. This would be the team’s third best record against Metro since the division’s creation in 2013-14.
The Capitals entered Saturday’s game with a roster with an average age of 30.0, and tied with the Islanders for the oldest player in the league. Penguins have been linked with the fifth oldest on the list with Wild at 29.3 years old.
Washington has struggled in the standoff circuit, ranking 28th overall (47.4%), last in the power game (46.1%) and 30th in the attack zone (45.3%). Of the 87 eligible players, Lars Eller is ranked 56th (49.8%) and Evgeny Kuznetsov is ranked 84th (43.7%) in showdown wins in percentage.
Alex Ovechkin stands at 773 goals, which leaves him 28 goals short of tying Jordi Howe for second in all-time (801). With 12 games remaining, if Ovechkin maintains his seasonal pace, he will end up scoring exactly 50 goals for the ninth time in his career, which would equal Wayne Gretzky and Mike Posey for the most in NHL history.
Ovechkin hit 300 shots for the 15th time in his 17-year career (301), three more than any other player in NHL history. Only Austin Matthews (314) and David Pasternak (304) have captured more than Ovechkin this season.
John Carlson is one point shy of his fourth career 60-point season. Over the past five seasons, Carlson has had the most assists (250) and points (316) by a defensive man.
Niklas Backstrom’s score of 0.73 would be the lowest of his career. He still has 276 assists in scoring goals through Alex Ovechkin.
ESPN Energy Ratings: 12
Leading scorer: Sidney Crosby, 72 points in 59 games
2021-22 record: 10-21-41 (92 points) 3rd place in the metro division
The Penguins played without Sidney Crosby in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Rangers. They are 5-4-4 when Crosby is out of the squad this season and 36-17-6 when he plays. One of the biggest differences without Crosby in the squad is Power Play, which turns 9.5% in 13 games without him (it’s 21.5% overall). For context, the Flyers have the worst NHL play rate at 12.6% this season.
It tied Pittsburgh’s three-game losing streak, the longest in the organization this season. The loss to organization in this game would give the Penguins their second longest losing streak over the past five seasons (6 in a row from February 20 to 29, 2020). Since March 15, the Penguins are 5-6-1 overall and a 2-6-0 tag against teams currently in the playoffs, with both wins bypassing the regulations (3-2 win on penalties in St. Louis on March 17 and 4.-3 Overtime win in Minnesota on March 31).
Penguins are second in mass murder this season, at 86.0%. They have finished second in mass murder percentage once in team history: 2010-11, when they led the league with 86.1%. The current conversion rate would rank fourth in a single season in team history (stats first tracked in 1977-1978).
Goalkeeper Tristan Gary has lost four games in a row and been 1-5-0 in his last six games with 891 saves. All five of those losses came against Rangers (3) and Avalanche (2).
Brian Rust has a career high of 57 points this season, 48 of which came in 2022. The only Penguin player to have more in that period is Crosby, with a score of 54. The trio of Crosby, Rust and Jake Guentzel have accounted for 35% of the Penguins’ goals this time. season. But since January 1, the percentage has risen to 42%.