-Hey, guess where we are:
-No not quite:
-We made our way down to the Verizon Center. Only a few pregame shots. We ran into a Pennsylvania State trooper who had issues with our speed in Fulton County and that held us up a bit. Sorry. A friendly:
-The Penguins' scratches are Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and Eric Godard. GONCHAR?!?
-The Capitals' scratches are John Erskine, Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, Milan Jurcina, Scott Walker and Tyler Sloan.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Jose Theodore are your starting goaltenders.
17:41: Tom Poti is nabbed for tossing the puck out of play. That's delay of game. Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Alex Goligoskki and Kris Letang are on for the power play.
15:41: The Capitals kill off the penalty. The Penguins didn't do much there.
14:37: A wrister by Craig Adams from the right circle is eaten up by Theodore.
13:38: Matt Cooke appears to get away with a trip in the right corner.
12:24: Jordan Leopold. takes a pass at the top of the slot and chucks a slapper on net. Theodore spots it through traffic and knocks it down.
11:19: Mike Knuble takes a pass in the right circle and chops a slapper on net. Fleury squares up to the shot and fights it off.
10:34: Tyler Kennedy mashes Mike Green behind the Capitals' net.
10:27: Fleury fights off a wrister from Eric Fehr on the right wing.
9:09: Adams grips and rips a wrister from the top of the right circle. Theodore boots it away with his right foot.
8:06: Brook Orpik seperates Alexander Semin from the puck in the left circle with a big hit.
7:08: During a television stoppage, Chipotle burritos are given out. If the Penguins' have any souls, they'll end their Qdoba sponsorship and get in bed with Chipotle:
6:39: Alex Ovechkon glides up the right wing and puts a wrister on net. It's wide on the near side.
6:32: John Carlson releases a wrister from the right point. Fleury boots it out with a "thud."
5:57: Kennedy controls a bouncing puck on the right wing and puts a wrister on net. Theodore makes the save. Ruslan Fedotenko comes crashing in for the rebound but is tripped up by Tomas Fleischmann. The Penguins get a power play. We've been critical of Fedotenko as of late, but he has drawn more than a few penalties as of late. In that instance, he just went to the net and drew the call. Crosby, Gonchar, Golgioski, Letang, Ponikarovsky and Gueirn take the ice.
4:36: Chris Kunitz lifts a wrister from the right circle. Theodore makes the save. Crosby is there for the rebound and punches it on net. Theodore fights that toff.
3:57: The Fleischmann penalty is killed not much going on there for the Penguins.
3:39: Theodore stops Matt Cooke from point blank range.
3:20: Ovechkin gets open on the left wing and snaps off a wrister to the far side with his juuuust wide.
2:50: Kennedy pushes the puck up ice, gains the blue line and is sperated from it by Shaone Morrisonn. Pascal Dupuis is on the right wing and is able to pick it up and sweep a backhander on net. Theodore is there for that save. Dupuis punches the rebound back on net with a forehand shot. Theodore makes that save. A scrum develops. Mike Rupp comes barging in taking names from anyone in a red jersey. Officials break it up. Nothing comes of it.
2:05: From the right wing, Crosby centers a pass into the slot. Dupuis is there but the puck gets deflectd backwards towards the right wing. Goligoski comes flying in off the point, and rips a wrister. Tomas Fleischmann makes a nice backcheck and deflects the shot out of play.
1:00ish: Adams is taking all kinds of shots tonight. He pumps a slapper on net from the right wing. Theodore fights it off.
0:14: Just as Jordan Staal drops Semin in the neutral zone, Jason Chimera whips a one-timer on net from the right circle. Fleury eats it up.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 0, Penguins 0.
-FIrst things first, Sergei Gonchar is out with an illness.
-Here's a news flash, the Penguins and Captials don't play boring games. That said, despite the lack of goals , this is still a pretty dang exciting game.
-The story of that period was Jose Theodore. He was outstanding. He was rarely out of position and didn't give up too many bad rebounds.
-The Penguins had the better of the offensive chances that period. That said, they did have to power plays while the Capitals had none.
-Somewhat surprisingly, the muckers and grinders for the Penguins probably were the best offensive threats. Craig Adams and Tyler Kennedy created a few things for the Penguins.
-The Penguins need a power play goal if they want to win this game.
-The Penguins have a 17-9 lead in shots.
-Adams leads the game with three.
-Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera lead the Capitals with two.
-The Capitals have a 9-6 lead in faceoffs (60 percent).
-Brendan Morrison is 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Crosby is 4 for 8 (50 percent).
-Jeff Schultz leads the Capitals with 8:21.
-Goligoski has picked up some serious minutes with Gonchar out. He leads the Penguins with 8:18 of ice time.
-Letang and Joe Corvo each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-A few sights around the arena. Here's an all-timer. A Pete Peeters jersey:
-An Evgeni Malkin fan surrounded by the enemy:
-Alex Ovechkin Team Russia:
-Olaf Kolzig Baltimore Skipjacks:
-Is it us, or do not nearly enough people remember Scott Stevens as a Capital:
-Peter Bondra from the black and copper days:
-412 being represented:
-Petr Bondra from the orignal red, white and blue days:
-And a group of hungry Penguins fans:
19:45: Ponikarovsky backhand shuffles a puck on net from the right circle. Theodore fight sit off.
19:11: Off a faceoff win, Orpik swats a shot on net. Theodore boots it out with a thud.
18:51: Backstrom one-times feed from Ovechkin on net from the slot. Fleury is square to the shot and makes the save. The rebound pops up like a fly ball over the cage. Who else but Mike Knbule would come barging in and create havoc in the crease? Knuble charges in behind Fleury, holds Fleury away from the puck and smacks it in on the back hand. He wont' get too many easier goals than that. Fleury protests but hte goal is legal. Backstrom and Ovechkin get assists. Capitals 1-0.
17:39: And the Penguins get it back immediately courtesy of a slumping "superstar." From down low on the left wing, Adams deals a puck to Oprik at the left point. Orpik hammers a one-timer. Talbot is in front on a screen and makes a nice re-diretion by Theodore on the glove side. Big goal. The Penguins and Talbot needed that. Talbot does this "scrunch" celebration as he skates to his bench. Orpik and Adams get assists. A ton of Penguins fans celebrate. We don't care if Congress passes a federal law banning anyone with Pittsburgh ties from this building. Penguins fans will still get in. Capitals 1, Penguins 1.
(Trust us. They're there.)
16:35: As the Capitals monster truck announcer public address announcer finishes reading off the scoring on the Penguins' goal, Capitals fans ask in unison, "WHO CARES??!?!?" Cute.
13:59: Kris Letang is nabbed for tripping Ovechkin, Leopold, Adams, Mark Eaton and Talbot take the ice.
13:23: Adams blocks a slapper by Corvo from the left point. Yeouch. Corvo has a cannon Adams is having a tremendous game.
12:59: Semin puts a shot juuust wide.
11:59: Letang's penalty is killed. The Penguins really didn't give up too much that two minutes.
11:10: Fleishmann snaps off a wrster from the right circle. Fleury makes the inital save. Eric Belanger is sniffing around for the rebound. Fleischmann gets it back, kneels down and punches another shot on net. Fleury is scrambling but is able to make that save.
10:20: Tom Poti sneaks up the left wing and into the slot. Through traffic, he backhand a shot on net. Fleury fights it off and covers the rebound. David Steckel and Matt Bradley dig around for a rebound. Jay McKee and Kunitz and others fight them off. A scrum develops. Officials break it up.
10:17: Fleury eats up a wrister by Brendan Morris on from the right wing.
9:18: Off a turnover in the neutral zone by Kennedy, Semin picks up the puck and tries to deke by a defender. He ends up bringing his stick high and clips Mike Rupp in the face. That's two minutes. Crosby, Goligoski, Ponikarovsky, Guerin and Letang take the ice.
9:34: Crosby zips a pass from the right corner to the left point for Letang. Letang chops a half slapper on net. Theodore fights it off.
8:51: Goligoski fires a slapper from the right point. Theodore again makes a save through traffic.
8:46: Off a turnover in the offensive zone by Crosby, Fleischmann banks a puck up off the boards. He tries to chase it down but Letang appears to hold him up a bit. That could've been interference.
7:18: Semin's penalty is killed. The Penguins got a few point shots on net but couldn't do a thing with the rebounds.
7:07: Off a drop pass by Backstrom on the right wing, Ovechkin rips a wrister from the faceoff cirlce. Despite a bit of a screen by McKee, Fleury is able to make a tough glove save.
6:16: Letagn is tripped up in the neutral zone by Fleischmann. He loses the puck in front of the Capitals' bench. Shaone Morrisonn tries to track itdown and his held up by Letang. The penalty on Fleischmann stands. Another chance for the Penguins. Crosby, Guerin, Ponikarovsky, Goligoski and Letang take the ice.
6:08: Off the right half wall, Crosby lifts a wrister. Theodore fights it off.
5:21: And the Penguins finally get a power play goal. Ponikarovsky contorls it on the right half wall. Crosby comes streakign down the slot, does a little deke which freezes up Corvo and Theodore and deals a slick backhanded pass to the right of the crease. Guerin is there and bangs in the easy goal. That was some nice passing by Crosby and Ponikarovsky. They get assists. Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 2-1.
3:15: Off a version of the "Whitney Play," Carlson sneaks up the right wing and puts a shot on the outside of the cage.
1:12: Ovechkin forces Crosby int oa turnove rin the Pengins' zone. That creates a chance off a one-timer for Knuble. Fleury is in perfect position for that and fights it off.
0:27: Adams and Shaone Morrisonn race for a puck along the right wall in the Penguins' zone. Adams wins the battle and drops Morrisonn with a huge shoulder check.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Capitals 1.
-Things picked up quite a bit there. There was a lot more hitting. A lot more skating. A lote more shooting. And a few more goals.
-We're liking the fact that the Penguins are getting shots on net. We're not liking the fact they're not doing much around the net (with apologies to Talbot and Guerin). They're just not doing enough with any of the rebounds Theodore is giving up.
-Theodore continues to be sharp. The first goal was the result of a tough deflection in front of the net. No goaltender would make that save. And the second came off a ridiculous pass by Crosby. He's played well enough to win.
-Ditto Fleury. He could've make a better play on the rebound which led to the Knuble goal, but too has his team in a position to win.
-We're always a bit slow to complain about officiating and how it dictates a game, but the Capitals haven't gottent to many breaks. Don't be shocked if the Penguins are tagged with a few make up calls.
-The Penguins have a 26-22 lead in shots.
-Adams and Backstrom each lead the game with four shots.
-Goligoski leads the game with 16:18 of ice time.
-Green leads the Capitals with 12:51.
-The Capitals have a 17-15 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Talbot and Brendan Morrison are each 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Welcome back Jay McKee. He leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Corvo also leads with three.
19:06: Backstrom lifts a wrister just from outside the right circle. Fleury absorbs it.
19:02: Off a faceoff win in the right circle, Knuble whips a quick wrister on net. Fleury traps it against the left post.
18:07: McKee fans on a one-timer attempt at the left point. That creates a chance up the right wing for Belanger who races up the ice and pumpes a wrister on net from the right wing. Fleury makes the save.
17:26: Despite a screen by Quintin Laing in front, Fleury is able to eat up a wrister by Bradley in the left circle. The Capitals have controlled this period so far.
16:32: Rupp puts a wrister on net from the right wing. Theodore makes the easy save.
15:49: Crosby pushes the puck towards the cage from the right circle. Schultz attempt to defend him but ends up checking Crosby for a suit size. In other words, he had his hands all over Crosby. That's two minutes. Crosby, Goligoski, Ponikarovsky, Letang and Guerin takt he ice.
14:24: Crosby turnos the puck over in the offensvie zone and that leads to a shorthanded goal. Crosby controls the puck on the right wing and attempts a centering pass right to Semin!?!? Semin takes it, moves it up the left wing calmly, gains the blue line and moves towards thes lot. Golgioski...well we're not quite sure what Goligoski was doing... He kind of just fell to his knees with a block attempt we suppose. Semin takes the space created from that and lifts a wrister over the glove hand sholder of Felury. That was a total failure. The goal is unassisted. All six Penguins on the ice deserve an assist on that one. Capitals 2, Penguins 2.
12:28: Belanger coasts behind the cage from the left wing. He emerges around the other side and distributes a pass to Green coming in from the right point. Green hammers a slapper at the top of the faceoff circle. Fehr is in front and re-directs the puck by Fleury. Fleury had no chance on that. Green and Belanger each get assists. Capitals 3-2.
8:51: Kennedy controls a bouncing puck and whips it wide on the far side from the right circle.
7:20: Theodore coves a puck chipped in from the neutral zone and freezes play.
5:30: W'eve criticized this element of thier team quite a bit,b ut the Capitals have played some solid defense here for about five minutes. The Penguins can barely get the puck into the offensive zone.
4:21: Letang makes a nice play to break up a potential breakaway for Semin.
3:23: Theodore just won this game.The Penguins had the tying goal on a silver platter and did nothing with it. Goligoski sneaks up the left wing and blasts a slapper from the faceoff circle. It hits a body. Guerin is in front and chops at it. It slides across the front of the crease. Staal is there and has the entire net to shoot at. He lifts a backhander but Theodore is able to stretch out and deflects it high with his blocker. WHAT. A. SAVE (/Bob Cole voice.) That just won this game.
3:06: Okay, um... so never mind. Kunitz controls the puck on the right wing and dishes a quick pass to Staal in the right circle. Staal grips and rips a wrister to the far side which burns Theodore by his glove hand shoulder. What a sick shot. And what a response by the Penguins to bounce back after a clutch save by Theodore. Kunitz and Leopold get assists. Penguins fans go crazy. Buckle up. Capitals 3, Penguins 3.
2:31: Following an icing call, the Capitals call a time out.
1:21: Backstrom comes flying into the offensive zone and cranks a slapper no where near the cage.
1:10: Green blasts a slapper from the right point wide on the far side.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 3, Penguins 3.
-Penguins and Capitals in overtime? No way!
-The Penguins have a 37-30 lead in shots.
4:39: Dupuis races up the right wing, gains the blue line, pulls up and deals to Goligoski trailing on the left wing. Goligoski pumps a slapper. Theodore fights it off.
3:44: From the right corner, Staal pushes a puck to Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz is there but can't get a clean shot off.
3:36: Ovechkin challenges Eaton, gets tripped up and still manages to swat a shot on net wide from the slot.
3:16: Belanger swoops behind the net off the right, emerges around the other side and attempts a wraparound. His backhander goes off the side of the cage.
3:04: Theodore fights off a wrister by Crosby in the right circle.
2:27: Kennedy grips and risp a wrister fromt he right wing. Theodore eats it up.
1:41: Ovechkin tosse a wrister from the right circle to the far side. Fleury juuuust gets a piece of it.
0:41: A shot by Letang from above the right circle is blocked by Carlson.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 3, Penguins 3.
-What would another playoff series between these two teams be like?
-Letang is up first. Everyone's standing. He moves in on net, weaving a bit. He approaches the crease, goes to his forehand and lifts a shot by Thedores right leg. Penguins 1-0.
-Backstrom gets the call for the Capitals. he approaches the net, breaks to his right goes backhand and is denied by Fleury's left leg.
-Crosby's up. He attacks the net, dekes a few times, trips up Theodore and tucks a backhander behind his right foot. Penguins 2-0.
-Ovechkin has to score. He does. He goes a bit ot his left, cuts across the slot and lifts a wrister over Fleury's left leg. Penguins 2-1.
-Guerin goes for the Penguins. He simply goes right at Theodore and shoots five hole. Theodore fights it off.
-Semin has to score. He goes right at the cage, dekes a few times, swtiches to his backhand and lifts a shot by Fleury's right leg. Capitals 2, Penguins 2.
-Kunitz? Okay. He moves in on net and rips a wrister going five hole. Theodore fights it off.
-Knuble. Argh. He moves in and rips a wrister which burns Fleury over his glove hand. What a shot. End of shootout. Capitals 3, Penguins 2. End of game. Capitals 4, Penguins 3.
-So what do you take out of this? The Penguins, playing without two of their best players, rallied late in regulation to get a road win against the best team of hockey. But they also failed late in an area they normally dominate and fell in the shootout.
-We be the glass half full type and point out the positive. A point on the road while down late against the best team in the NHL. And without Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin. It's certainly a lot better than a home loss late in overtime against the Hurricanes.
-That said, the Penguins HAD this game. They had the win wrapped up. And they had it wrapped up in the shootout, an area of the game they have dominated. It's very frustrating from their perspective.
-All in all, it produced for some amazing hockey. If there's any sort of hockey god anywhere, he or she will ensure these two get together once again in the postseason.
-The Penguins' power play is tough to figure out. It got a key goal in the second which gave the Penguins a lead in the second. But then it gave up a crushing short-handed goal in the third. The extremes of the spectrum.
-Fleury's troubles in the shootout were a little disappointing. He's perhaps the biggest reason the Penguins are have been dominant in that area. Tonight, he looked rather ordinary. That said, not many other teams have the pure offensive skill the Capitals do.
-Conversely, the Penguins kind of ran out of players it almost seemed. Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz?
-It's nice to Maxime Tablot get his first goal in forever, but he was hard to notice the rest of the game.
-We were a little disappointed in the efforts by Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski. They were less than spectacular in a situation which demanded more of them. With Gonchar out, they had a chance to step up. We though Jordan Leopold had a better game than either of them.
-All things considered, the Penguins did a solid job on Alex Ovechkin. He was still a force out there, but he wasn't the Ovechkin we're used to seeing.
-Mike Knuble might be a first team winger on the Penguin Killer All-Stars. He always hurts this team.
-Jose Theodore was clutch until the Jordan Staal goal. He needs to make saves like those for the Capitals to make a legit run at the Stanley Cup.
-Alexei Ponikarovsky had another typical game for him. He made a spectacular play on the goal by Sidney Crosby but... nothing else. But that's always been his game.
-The Penguins ended up with a 42-32 lead in shots.
-Kunitz, Nicklas Backstrom and Knuble each led the game with five shots.
-Jay McKee was the only Penguins skater who failed to record a shot.
-Crosby led the game with 25:55 of ice time.
-Mike Green led the Capitals with 25:02.
-Faceoffs were even, 28-28 (50 percent).
-Talbot was 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Bredan Morrison was 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-Tom Poti led the game with four blocked shots.
-McKee and Letang each led the Penguins with three.
-Craig Adams recorded his 99th career point. He's on pace to get No. 100 by 2014-15.