Pittsburgh, the league’s worst team with just 40 points this season, has won the last four meetings in the series—including all three in 2005-06—and has outscored Washington 23-11 over that span.
The 20-year-old Ovechkin leads all first-year players in goals (41), points (76), power-play points (36) and shots (308). During his six-game goal streak, he has scored seven times and added three assists. Ovechkin also had a similar six-game run from Dec. 22-Jan. 1, when he totaled six goals and six assists.
Ovechkin, the odds-on favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, has overshadowed the play of Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby, who also is having a stellar season. The 18-year-old Crosby has 29 goals and a rookie-best 39 assists.
Crosby has had the upper hand in the head-to-head matchup, collecting three goals and five assists in three games, while Ovechkin has scored twice and added an assist.
“I don’t look at history,” Ovechkin said. “I enjoy my hockey career here in Washington. I’m glad I score lots of goals, and I’m glad some goals are winning goals.”
Capitals coach Glen Hanlon continues to be impressed by the rookie’s performance.
“His consistency is amazing,” Hanlon said. “All first-year players seem to have some peaks and valleys to their game, and Alex is able to continue to play well.”
Kolzig, chosen by the Capitals as the 19th overall pick in the 1989 draft, improved to 250-243-6 with 63 ties and a 2.64 goals-against average in his career.
The 35-year-old has gone 11-16-0 with four ties and a 3.45 GAA lifetime versus the Penguins.
Pittsburgh dropped its third straight game Tuesday in a 5-4 shootout defeat to Tampa Bay.
Crosby had a goal and an assist during a three-goal third period for the Penguins, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit to knot the score at 4-4 on Ryan Whitney’s second goal of the season at 19:04.
Whitney hadn’t scored since his first NHL tally on Dec. 1 against the New York Rangers.
Recchi has 44 goals and 53 assists in 74 career games against the Capitals.
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