The Washington Capitals (40-21-5-85, first in Southeast, third in East) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (34-26-6-74, fourth in Atlantic, T-8 in East) at 3:00 p.m. from Verizon Center.

The Caps have lost three games in a row, all at home, all to teams lower in the standings. For a team that at one point had designs on catching Boston at the top of the conference, they are now in a scramble for second, as New Jersey holds a two-point advantage heading into Sunday's games.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is fighting for their playoff lives, not seeding. They are tied with the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot with 74 points, and just one point ahead of Buffalo looking in.

The Penguins have been playing very well of late, going 7-2-1 in their last ten games. The Pens haven't lost since losing to the Caps two weeks ago. They reeled off four straight wins with their captain, Sidney Crosby, on the shelf with a groin injury, and he chipped in with a goal upon his return Thursday night in a 4-1 over Florida.

The Capitals missed their most important piece, Alex Ovechkin, Thursday in a 2-1 loss to Toronto. After taking a slap shot to the heel in practice the previous day, he was held out of the Leafs game as a precaution. The team looked lost without their superstar, especially on the power play. Ovie is expected to play today, but coach Bruce Boudreau stopped short of guaranteeing that after the morning skate.

Defenseman Tom Poti will try to warm up before the game in an effort to play. If he can't get his sore groin loose enough to go, Tyler Sloan, recalled from AHL Hershey, will play.