The Pittsburgh Penguins are running away in the Eastern Conference and hold a 16-point cushion over Washington in the Metropolitan Division, but the standings are secondary when superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin square off on Wednesday. Crosby, the league scoring leader with 67 points in 47 games, looks to lift Pittsburgh to a franchise-record 13th consecutive home victory. The Penguins have won their last five meetings with the Capitals, including a 4-0 drubbing at Washington on Nov. 20. The Capitals will complete a rugged back-to-back set after losing to San Jose in a shootout on Tuesday and are facing a grueling stretch during which they will play eight of their next nine on the road. Ovechkin tops the NHL with 33 goals, surpassing his total from last season, and also has a league-best 12 tallies on the power play - one better than Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz. Tuesday's game was the league-high 14th shootout for Washington, which has lost eight of 11 (3-3-5).TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2ABOUT THE CAPITALS (22-16-7): With rookie Philipp Grubauer making his 12th start in 17 games on Tuesday, coach Adam Oates is expected to choose between the slumping Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth to face the Penguins. Neuvirth, who has better career numbers against Pittsburgh, was victorious in his first start in seven weeks - a 32-save effort in a 3-2 win over Toronto on Friday. Conversely, Holtby has lost his last three starts (0-2-1), surrendering five goals in each, and has not won since Dec. 7. ABOUT THE PENGUINS (33-12-2): James Neal, who is third on the team with 17 goals, is questionable for Wednesday's matchup after sitting out practice the last two days due to an undisclosed injury. Neal has scored seven goals in the last eight games while amassing 14 points in that span to give him 36 in 27 games this season. The Penguins placed center Joe Vitale on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and called up forward Nick Drazenovic, who had seven goals and 20 points in 26 games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.OVERTIME1. Crosby is riding a 16-game home point streak for the Penguins, who will attempt to eclipse a 12-game winning streak set from Feb. 22-March 30, 2013.2. Pittsburgh and Washington rank 1-2 on the power play with a 25.2 percent success rate3. Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury is 30-3-0 in his last 35 games at Consol Energy Center.PREDICTION: Penguins 3, Capitals 1
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