To put it lightly, there is no love lost between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Pleasantries surely won't be exchanged Thursday when the Caps play their first road game of the season against the rival Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Caps and Pens are both off to solid starts; Washington enters Thursday's game with a 2-0-0 record after two overtime victories at Verizon Center, while Pittsburgh is the NHL's best team entering Wednesday with a 3-0-1 record.
In regards to the Caps, the biggest news coming out of Wednesday's practice was the revelation that Michal Neuvirth is "day-to-day" with what head coach Bruce Boudreau called a lower-body injury. Boudreau, however, said that Neuvirth could still play Thursday. If not, Tomas Vokoun will have a chance to redeem himself after a shaky start in Monday's 6-5 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Meanwhile, the Penguins, still without Sidney Crosby, did not have Evgeni Malkin the lineup in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers because a lower-body injury of his own. His status for Thursday is uncertain, but head coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday that Malkin's injury was nothing long-term. The Penguins' offense has been doing fine without their biggest contributors. In fact, Matt Cooke is tied with Jason Chimera and two others for the league lead in goals scored entering Wednesday.
The Caps have dominated the Penguins in the regular season in recent years. Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Washington is 10-2-4 against Pittsburgh with the last regulation loss coming in March 2008.