Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Penguins

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: Mellon Arena
66 Mario Lemieux Place (ugh)
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
When: Sunday, February 18, 3:30 pm

Broadcast Info: NBC; WTEM 980 AM, WXDX 105.9 FM

Media Notes:
WashingtonCaps.com
PittsburghPenguins.com
Pens Start New Careers, Abandon Hockey
Oh, the hype...the HYPE!!
Oh, the hype...the HYPE!! (Continued...)
Washington Post
Washington Times
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Therrien Gets Credit, Swollen Ego
Come On...He's No Cary Grant
Scouting Report

2006-07 Standings: Caps 23-26-9, 55 points – 5th in division, 13th in conference; Penguins 31-17-9, 71 points – 2nd in division, 4th in conference

2006-07 Season Series: Caps 0-1-1, Penguins 2-0-0

Last Game: February 3 in Pittsburgh, Caps lost 2-0 (but not really)
- In a game featuring some of the brightest offensive stars of today’s NHL and two of the more porous defensive corps, a 1-0 outcome was not exactly what anyone expected. Still, it was an entertaining game that in the end came down to just one goal, another close game between these longtime rivals and rebuilding clubs.
- Ovechkin’s 13-game point scoring streak, the longest of his career, came to an end as he was held off the scoresheet. That’s okay, because the other member of the dynamic duo, Sidney Crosby, saw his own point streak snapped as well. Semin had no goals...but neither did Malkin. Clark...Recchi...also none. The winning goal came from Ronald Petrovicky of all people, beating Olie Kolzig on a slap shot from along the boards.
- The only other tally in this one was an empty-netter...also known as the easiest goal ever scored. I don’t count them when the Caps score them, so I’m certainly not giving the Penguins the credit. We’ll call this a 1-0 game and be done with it.
- The Caps actually seemed to dominate large portions of the game and could have been up by 2 or 3 goals were it not for the sparkling play of Marc-Andre Fleury in net for the Pens. Both teams played amazingly strong defense, with the goal-scorers never really getting room to maneuver. I’ll bet the NHL brass just hated this one.
- The Pens never mustered more than 8 shots a period, and were outshot for 2/3 of the game, including 13-5 in the final period. Everywhere else on the scoreboard, the two teams were amazingly even - both teams had 3 penalties, 5 power play shots, 1 shorthanded shot.
- Milan Jurcina made his Caps debut after being acquired from Boston and instantly made his presence felt, working over Crosby several times and helping to muzzle him for most of the game.

Things to Look for:
- Okay, it’s true – the Penguins are pretty hot right now. In fact, they’re the hottest team in the league, picking up points in 15 straight games and losing only twice during that stretch. Meanwhile the Caps continue to sputter, dropping 8 of their last 11 games. All things must come to an end, though...right? I mean, at some point the law of averages has to swing in their favor. The Pens can’t win every game from now until the end of the season, just like I’m pretty sure the Caps can’t lose every game. Pretty sure.
- Johnny came out and played like a superstar in Thursday’s loss to the Lightning, allowing two goals and keeping the Caps in it long enough to force overtime and earn a point. If he can take that confidence and bring it in to today’s game, I have no doubt the Caps will at least have a shot.
- Johnny’s goaltending opposite will probably be Penguins’ backup, Jocelyn Thibault – and that’s good news for the Caps, only because Fleury has been red hot lately and was a key reason for the last Penguins’ win over the Caps.
- As Tarik has been pointing out fairly consistently over the past few days, Ovechkin is admittedly in a bit of a slump. He has fallen out of the lead in goal-scoring and is slipping even further away in the overall points race. That may look bad, but to the naïve optimist (hi there) it’s a recipe for a breakout night. And what better time to snap out of it big time than against the Pens? Works for me...
- This is round 3 of the Ovechkin-Crosby show, the overhyped circus that remains the only reason the Caps will even appear on national television two of the three times they are scheduled to do so this year. However, unlike last season, this year seems to be about anyone but these two. Game 1, both players factored in, but the spotlight was stolen by Evgeni Malkin. Game 2, it was Petrovicky who provided the fireworks. Just goes to show how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.


Possible Lineup for the Caps
Forwards:
8-Alex “the Mad Dialer” Ovechkin, 9-Dainius “I Hit the NET!” Zubrus, 17-Chris “Gappy” Clark
28-Alexander “Slippery on Ice” Semin, 21-Brooks “Clark’s Stunt Double” Laich, 14-Eric “State” Fehr
18-Matt “Princess for a Day” Pettinger, 15-Boyd “Softie” Gordon, 10-Matt “Where the Hell is Clymer??” Bradley
87-Donald “the Strong Silent Type” Brashear, 16-“What About” Brian Sutherby, 20-Richard “One Shot” Zednik

Defensemen:
23-Milan “Crushing Crosby” Jurcina, 26-Shaone “Mauling Malkin” Morrisonn
2-Brian “Dizzy” Pothier, 55-Jeff “Movin’ On Up” Schultz
4-John “Wrong Side of the Rock” Erskine, 6-Jamie “Turnover King” Heward

Goaltenders:
1-Brent “My Turn” Johnson, 35-Frederick “Mr. Creativity” Cassivi

Possible Lineup for the Penguins
Forwards:
12-Ryan “Seacrest” Malone, 87-Sidney “OVECHKIN!!” Crosby, 8-Mark “Grandpa” Recchi
11-Jordan “I’m Here Too!” Staal, 71-Evgeni “Snaggletooth” Malkin, 7-Michel “I Forgot My” Ouellet
16-Erik “the Red” Christensen, 25-Maxime “Magazine” Talbot, 20-Colby “Stretch” Armstrong 37-Jarko “Wears a Pretty Pink” Ruutu, 18-Dominic “Junior” Moore, 26-Ronald “Sharpshooter” Petrovicky

Defensemen:
3-Mark “I’ve Already” Eaton, 55-Sergei “Woop Woop” Gonchar
2-Josef “Stalin” Melichar, 5-Rob “Razor” Scuderi
19-Ryan Whitney “Spears”, 44-Brooks “Wishes He Was Laich” Orpik

Goaltenders:
29-Marc-Andre “Chompers” Fleury, 41-Jocelyn “Afternoon” Thibault

6 comments:

Tyler said...

I think that it will be a battle of the back-up goalies also. Do you think "My Turn" Johnson has what it takes to stop the Pens fire power? Here's hoping for a good game and that the best team wins. And since I'll be in the stands, I hope it's the Pens!

Victor said...

Refs are blind as fuckin' bats.

Victor said...

Game should be tied--stupid ref blew the whistle too soon on Ovie's goal.

CapsChick said...

That was ridiculous - aside from the bad and missed calls, it was just such a sloppy game by both sides. If they were going to lose, the least they could do is lose well.

Jordi said...

GODDAMNIT NOW THAT YOU TOLD ME I CANT FORGET IT. MY JEALOUSY HAS MADE ME ANGRY!

Victor said...

And I forgot to mention...I *still* think Johnny will step up, and the Caps will win more than 50% of their remaining games.