Typically, the key storyline of a Penguins vs. Capitals matchup will be Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin, but Ovechkin's struggles this year have that rivalry on the backburner. Instead, the key story of Thursday night's Pens/Caps matchup, at least in the eyes of many Penguins fans, may be the NHL debut of top prospect Simon Despres, who was just recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and who appears set to play against the Capitals.
Despres, 20, has appeared in 22 games as a rookie this season for WBS, tallying three goals, four assists, seven points and a plus-3 rating. Despres leads WBS with three game-winning goals, while his seven points are tied for the team lead among defensemen.
To clear space for Despres, the Penguins sent Alexandre Picard back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Despres, who was the Penguins' top pick in the 2009 draft, and 2011 top pick Joe Morrow are the top prospects in a Penguins system that isn't especially strong. This isn't a callup that will make the national news or anything like that, but it'll be another good reason for Pens fans to pay attention to a game against the rival Caps.
The game begins at 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.