Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Penguins

How many shots will Sid and his merry bunch of Penguins take this game? Or will the Capitals find a way to lose to the Pens like they always seem to do?

It's anyone's guess but, hey, how about a pre-Cap?

Washington Capitals (2-1-0, Last game W 5-1 over Vancouver)
Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-1, Last game W 3-2 OT over Philadelphia)

The story so far...Alex Semin and the Capitals defense dominated the Canucks, but can they repeat Monday's performance against their bitter rival?

Players to watch
WSH: Alex Semin, Mike Green, Sergei Fedorov, Michael Nylander, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin
PIT: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fluery, Matt Cooke, Miroslav Satan, Brooks Orpik

Man-down defense
The Penguins shutdown and defensive units have taken a beating from injury and free agency. The Penguins will be playing without top defensive players Ryan Whitney and former Capital Sergei Gonchar; both are nursing long-term injuries. The Penguins lost agitator Jarkko Ruutu to the Senators (free agency) and enforcer George Laraque to the Canadiens (free agency).

The NHL's leading "faces" meet tonight as Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby look to jump start their production. Ovechkin has 2 points in 3 games, while Crosby has 2 points in 4 games. Meetings between the Pens and Caps are usually offensive battles, and the two players' stats against each other indicate this. In 11 games Crosby has 19 points against the Capitals, while Ovechkin has 15 points in 12 games.

Friend turned foe

Matt Cooke was acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the summer through free agency. The Capitals did not re-sign him, electing to continue employing current agitator Matt Bradley. Here's a good look at Cooke doing what he does best.

Backstrom's heartbreaker
In four games against the Pens, Nicklas Backstrom has only "scored" one goal. That goal was unfourtunately against his own team last March. Expect Backstrom to take this game as an opportunity to right the wrong. Think he'll watch this again to get pumped up?

Who said they don't have class?
Pittsburgh is home to the the fifth oldest opera company.

Remembering Alexei Cherepanov
Here's a video about the man they called "The Siberian Express." Cherepanov died this week during a KHL game. Cherepanov passed out on the bench, was attended to and hours later was pronounced dead.

Will we get a brawl tonight?
Will the Caps and Pens play fair and enjoy a nice skate on the pond? Or will they let emotion get the best of them, erupting into a spectacle of fists and goals? In the hopes that we get to see some old-time hockey, here's a brawl between the Isles and Sabres that occurred earlier this week.


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