• Metropolitan Division top teams face off on Sunday
  • Alex Ovechkin shifts focus to winning
  • Capitals pegged to regain the top spot of the division

The pressure of getting his 700th career goal has gone off Alex Ovechkin’s back after he reached the milestone on Saturday’s 3-2 loss to New Jersey. As his focus now shifts back to winning, the Capitals will expect their star captain to be more poised in leading them at a critical juncture of taking back the first place in the Metropolitan Division from the Pittsburgh Penguins whom they’ll face on Sunday at home. Both teams are practically tied up at the first and second places in the division with Pittsburgh having one less of a game lost to cling on No. 1.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby has gone ice cold in his last two games, going scoreless as the Penguins suffered losses on both outings. The Penguins captain had been wreaking havoc on every opposition since his comeback and actually poured in 11 of his 40-point total in the previous five games before the back-to-back setbacks. It was their first losing streak in February after they accounted for a superb 5-2 record heading to Tuesday’s game in Toronto which then resulted in a 0-4 stunner served by the Maple Leafs.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals have completely squandered the driver’s seat to the Penguins after a terrible 2-6-1 showing in all nine of their games this month including a rough seven-game stretch where they managed to secure just a single win. One positive takeaway amidst the tough series of defeats was Ovechkin finally regaining his groove after a rare slump that delayed him from joining the 700-goal club. He has now scored on two straight games, improving his goal totals to 42 as he seeks to translate his offensive momentum to wins for Washington.

Odds and Trends

The Capitals will make the most out of their familiarity inside the Capital One Arena as the NHL Odds tag them as slight favorites at -135 to win over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins who will enter an unchartered territory with a +115 money line price to conquer.

The Penguins are 6-1 in their last 7 games following a loss of 3 or more goals and 5-1 in their last 6 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.

The Capitals are 7-1 in their last 8 Sunday games and 1-5 in their last 6 games as a home favorite.

Over is 3-0-1 in Penguins last 4 Sunday games and 7-1-1 in Capitals last 9 vs. Eastern Conference.

Under is 6-1-1 in Penguins last 8 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game and 5-1-1 in their last 7 road games.


Capitals win, 3-2

Alex Ovechkin celebrates his 500th goal on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators. Getty