Pittsburgh Penguins (0-0)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming into the first game of the 2016-17 season without their most prolific player, Sidney Crosby — but all signs appear good regarding his progress coming back from the injury (concussion). Still, playing against the Washington Capitals even with a healthy roster is no easy task.
The Penguins need a big first game from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury if they expect this to be a good game. Pittsburgh’s offense will likely show signs of rust in the first half of the game but will still keep it close.
However, a lack of Crosby spells trouble on the power play, and if Pittsburgh fails to capitalize on having a man-up advantage, it could be a long night.
Washington Capitals (0-0)
The Washington Capitals’ time is running thin. The window to winning a championship is closing, but there’s no lack of excitement surrounding the start of their season.
While the Capitals’ roster is mainly intact from last year, determination and experience will be what drives this team during this season. Of course, the top two lines and their power play — as well as Alexander Ovechkin — will be looked on to carry this Washington team to another playoff berth and, perhaps, even a Stanley Cup.
Lastly, the success of the Capitals’ season relies on staying healthy and not getting burned out early. With older players like defenseman Brooks Orpik, it may very well be easier said than done.
Tonight’s game will be a celebration of not only a helluva season last year but also a celebration of the 50 seasons the Penguins have played. There will also be a celebration to recognize Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup, the fourth in the city’s history, which means the Capitals will come out with pure anger — especially because the Penguins knocked Washington out of the playoffs.
The Capitals will win this evening’s season opener 3-2 and get the revenge they’ve been waiting on all summer.
Where: Pittsburgh, PA, PPG Paints Arena
When: Thursday, October 13 @ 8:00 p.m.
Image credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images