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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 11th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (30-26-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (43-17-4), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to complete a sweep of the Washington Capitals when the clubs cap a quick home-and-home series Tuesday night in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh visited the Capitals on Monday and Chris Kunitz potted a pair of goals, including the go-ahead marker in the second period, to help the Penguins continue their recent dominance of Washington with a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center.

Sidney Crosby assisted on both of Kunitz's scores and tallied one of his own in Pittsburgh's seventh consecutive win over the Capitals, while Jeff Zatkoff outperformed counterpart Jaroslav Halak with a 31-save performance between the pipes.

"At the end of it, the goalie has to make the big save and we had that all night," said Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi of Zatkoff.

Halak, making his second start for Washington since being acquired from Buffalo at last week's trade deadline, stopped just 17-of-20 shots.

Eric Fehr and Nicklas Backstrom accounted for Washington's goals in the loss, the Capitals' fourth in five games.

"I think we have to look at the positives," Fehr said after Monday's game. "We had some time where we outplayed them and we have to try to do that again tomorrow."

Pittsburgh pushed its lead atop the Metropolitan Division to 16 points over the New York Rangers.

The Capitals, meanwhile, enter Tuesday one point behind both Columbus and Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets and Red Wings are facing each other tonight in Columbus.

Washington twice rallied from one-goal deficits to knot the score at 2-2 midway through the second period on Monday, but Kunitz struck for the second time of the night with 7:20 left in the middle session to put the Penguins in front to stay.

The goal came on a rush up the ice led by Crosby, who dropped the puck back to Lee Stempniak for a shot that Halak kicked away. Kunitz raced in down the left side while uncovered, however, to deposit the rebound into an opening.

Zatkoff made the lead stand with a seven-save third period. Washington had an opportunity to tie after the Penguins were called for too many men on the ice with 2:17 left, but never got a shot on goal during the advantage.

"I thought we did a good job just sitting back and not giving them passing lanes and making them shoot themselves," said Scuderi. "It's way easier for the defense and goalie if you can just keep the puck on one half of the ice and not have to be going side-to-side. I guess I thought everyone did a good job with that."

The Pens own a stellar 23-4-2 record on home ice this season, but have lost two straight at CONSOL Energy Center.

Washington has lost two straight on the road and is just 12-15-5 as the away team in 2013-14.

03/11 10:43:36 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
 
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
Final
LAL 87
HOU 99
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32