Unsurprisingly in a rivalry game, there was some fighting. Craig Adams and Matt Hendricks both picked up a 5-minute major for fighting in the second period, but outside of that the game was relatively clean. The Caps were outshot by the Penguins 30-21, but Tomas Vokoun saved all 30 shots and didn't let anything get into the net for the shutout.
The second period between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins didn't feature as many theatrics as the first, but that wasn't for lack of trying.. After 40 minutes, the Caps still lead the Penguins 1-0.
Pittsburgh dominated play throughout the period, earning 10 of the period's 14 shots. Meanwhile, Washington could not muster any sort of sustained offense as it failed to get out of its own zone on several occasions. The Caps' best chance came when Troy Brouwer got behind the Penguins' defense, but could not control the puck and lost a breakaway chance.
Tomas Vokoun has kept the Caps in the game with 20 saves through 40 minutes.
A period filled with 33 hits yielded one goal as Jason Chimera's breakaway has the Caps leading the Penguins 1-0 after the first period.
The game was not even three minutes old when Matt Hendricks and Craig Adams dropped the gloves. Hendricks got the best of Adams on the exchange, taking him down to the ice. The tone was then set for a physical period that featured several big hits and scrums around the net.
Chimera broke through for the game's only goal so far at 15:25. Evgeni Malkin brought the puck into Pittsburgh's offensive zone, but was surrounded by four Washington players. Joel Ward poked the puck away from Malkin and towards Jeff Halpern, who raced down the boards. Halpern fed a cutting Chimera, who was all alone in the slot and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot for his 14th goal of the season.
Despite losing, the Penguins have a 9-6 shot advantage.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals once had the NHL's best rivalry. Now? It's a shell of itself, but it's still the Penguins and the Capitals. The rivalry will be renewed on Wednesday night live from the Verizon Center starting at 7:30 p.m.
Injuries and ineffective play have made these teams two of the more disappointing squads in the East. The Penguins are hanging on to eighth place in the conference, while the Capitals are in 10th. Two major faces of the rivalry are not playing in this one, as both Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom will sit out with injuries.
Here's more information about the game.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 p.m. ET
"I like to do everything," Kundratek said when asked to describe his style of play. "I like to hit, I like to play good defense and I like to score."
Kundratek will be paired with fellow Czech countryman Roman Hamrlik, who he watched growing up.
"I've been watching that guy since I was young," he said. "It's unreal. It'll be huge experience and I'm really looking forward [to it]."
Meanwhile, fellow Czech Tomas Vokoun will start for Washington Wednesday. It will be his seventh consecutive start despite being pulled during Monday's 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.after allowing four goals on 27 shots.
John Erskine and Jeff Schultz will be the defensive scratches. Mike Green did not skate Wednesday after leaving during the second period of Saturday's 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Hunter, however, said that he does not believe Green's current setback will be a long-term issue and that it is more of an issue of building up strength in the groin that cost him 23 consecutive games.
Backstrom was injured when he was hit in the head by an elbow from Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque last week. Concussion tests proved to be inconclusive, but Backstrom missed the team's next two games, both losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Backstrom watched Wednesday's morning skate from the bench.
"We're being cautious," head coach Dale Hunter said. "He's not feeling 100 percent, so we [are] just being careful."
Backstrom has arguably been Washington's top player this season, with 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games this season. In his absence, Marcus Johansson will likely play on the top line with Alex Ovechkin.