Ahead of Washington's final regular-season matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, Capitals center Brooks Laich didn't mince words when asked for thoughts on his rivals.
“I mean, we don’t like them,” Laich said Wednesday morning on 106.7 The Fan, echoing comments he’s made before. “They’re our rivals. We do not like the Pittsburgh Penguins. We love playing them, but it’s a team that you’re going to have to face in the playoffs probably — certainly to get out of your division you’ll probably have to face them. So you never want to let anybody that you’re going to face in the playoffs ever think they can beat you.”
The Capitals and Penguins last met Feb. 17 in a chippy 3-1 win for Washington that saw the Caps' Alex Ovechkin club the right foot of Pittsburgh's Kris Letang, forcing him out of the game. Ovechkin wasn't penalized but was later doused in beer by fans as he sat on the bench.
The Eastern Conference rivals could meet again in the postseason. The Penguins (34-17-9) entered Wednesday third in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the fourth-place Capitals (33-18-10).
Wednesday's game will be the second at Washington in the teams' season series.
- Mike Fiammetta