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Postgame thoughts - Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (OT) - 04-28-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Observations from the Penguins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 1:

First things first, left winger Chris Kunitz left the game in overtime after he was struck on the left side of his head by a puck while sitting on the bench. He did not return from the dressing room. Head coach Mike Sullivan did not have an update on his status.

This game came down to mistakes and who could convert most of those into goals. So much of the offense in this game came directly as a result of a turnover or some bad coverage in the defensive zone. Perhaps both teams were a bit rusty after having not played since the weekend. Each team was sloppy. The Penguins just happened to be sloppier.

The physical toll the Capitals extracted on the Penguins appeared to be part of that. It's no secret that the Capitals play physical while the Penguins are a fast team. Predictably, the Capitals had the edge in physical play and they seemed to create some turnovers or puck possession with their hitting and even rattled them on a few occasions.

If there's a positive sign to this game, it's that the Penguins didn't play their best game by a mile and they still went toe-to-toe with the NHL's top team (in the regular season) in their barn and lost in overtime.

Center Matt Cullen summed things up well:

“It's a matter I think of I think just getting to our 60-minute game. We didn't have it, a complete night tonight. It wasn't a disaster. It wasn't our best. It wasn't our worst. It just wasn't good enough.”

What happened

The Capitals struck first at 10:13 of the first period. Following an offensive zone turnover by center Evgeni Malkin, former Erie Otters left winger Andre Burakovsky led a rush up the right wing. He gained the offensive zone and fed a centering pass to left winger Jason Chimera. In the slot. Chimera directed a somewhat pedestrian wrister on net which goaltender Matt Murray rejected with his left leg but allowed a rebound. As defenseman Brian Dumoulin tripped and slid into a prone Murray, Burakovsky followed up on the rebound and plunked it into the open cage from the right of the crease. Assists went to Chimera and defenseman John Carlson.

A brilliant individual effort by center Nick Bonino led to the Penguins tying the game. Taking a touch pass from left winger Carl Hagelin, Bonino rushed the puck through the neutral zone and crossed over Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov so badly he ended up colliding with defensive partner Nate Schmidt. Bonino attacked the net and lifted a forehand shot which was rejected by goaltender Braden Holtby. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy followed up the play and plunked in the rebound by Holtby's right leg. Assists went to Bonino and Hagelin.

The Penguins took their first lead 57 seconds later. Off a cycle, Malkin jumped over the boards and took a pass from Kunitz cycling off the right wing corner. Malkin took the pass on his forehand, rushed into the right circle, waited for Capitals center Mike Richards to collide with defenseman Brooks Orpik and roofed a wrister by Holtby's glove hand on the near side. Kunitz and defenseman Kris Letang got assists.

The Capitals tied the game at 12:10 mark with some speed. After defenseman Olli Maatta fumbled a puck at Washington's right point, right winger T.J. Oshie chipped it up ice and created his own breakaway. Attacking the net off the right wing, he lifted a wrister from the right circle by Murray's glove hand on the near side. The goal was unassisted.  

Washington regained the lead 3:23 into the second period thanks to Oshie once again. Left winger Alex Ovechkin raced into the offensive zone on the left wing and had a wrister from the left circle blocked by defenseman Trevor Daley. Ovechkin settled the rebound and fed it to Oshie who surged by a flat-footed left winger Conor Sheary as well as a poke check from Maatta and shuffled a backhander under Murray's right leg. Ovechkin had the only assist.

The second line tied the game again, 3-3, at 8:42 of the third period. After Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom fumbled a puck on his own right half wall, right winger Phil Kessel played it deep to the end boards. Hagelin controlled the puck and fed it to Bonino in the right circle. Bonino ripped a wrister which appeared to glance off the skate of Schmidt and past Holtby's right skate. Assists wen to Hagelin and Kessel. 

The game moved to overtime where the pace was pretty frantic. It ended at the 9:33 mark when Oshie completed his hat trick. Oshie entered the offensive zone on the right wing, cut across the slot, fended off a stick check from Dumoulin, veered around the back of the net and tucked in by Murray's right skate. A lengthy review ensued and the unassisted goal counted:

The Penguins

-The Penguins' defense had issues much of the night. The second pairing of Daley and Dumoulin was on the ice for the first and final goals. They mixed and matched a bit with the Letang-Maatta pairing but that didn't seem to help matters. The Penguins could consider a lineup change on the blue line heading into Game 2.

-Maatta continued to struggle. He just looked slow. Not just his foot speed but his reaction to some plays. It continues to be a problem. 

-Letang wasn't even immune has he stumbled and allowed Ovechkin to attempt an unsuccessful breakaway in the third period. 

-Murray was strong once again. He wasn't perfect. He could have made a save on Oshie's first two goals. He seemed to make a save on Oshie's third goal. But he flat out stole some goals, including on a pair of breakaways. He played well enough to win.

-The Penguins' best line was the second line of Bonino, Kessel and Hagelin. They seemed to take advantage of the Capitals directing most of their defensive attention at the Penguins' top line. 

-The top line of center Sidney Crosby, Sheary and right winger Patric Hornqvist was underwhelming. Additionally, it was on the ice for Washington's final three goals. They need to rebound for Game 2.

-Malkin had an up and down game. He had a turnover leading to Burakovsky's goal then he gave them a lead with a wicked backhander. Additionally he took a penalty, albeit under questionable circumstances (see below).

-Malkin and Capitals right winger Tom Wilson had issues in the second period. That led to Wilson being nabbed for a cross check and Malkin getting tagged for embellishment:

-There was a strange sequence in the second period when Letang's stick got stuck behind the visor of Capitals center Jay Beagle. Beagle seemed so bewildered by the predicament and simply skated to the bench to have it removed:

-Later in the third, Wilson escaped penalty for this low knee-on-knee hit against Sheary:

-We'd be surprised if the NHL took action regarding supplemental discipline. Letang swung a stick at Rangers left winger Viktor Stalberg's head in Game 3 of the first round and extracted three teeth. That play got nothing. Sheary was apparently healthy after the hit and never left the game.

-To his credit, Sheary kept going to the high traffic areas and battled hard after the hit. He's got some serious guts.

The Capitals

-For all the attention the likes of Ovechkin, centers Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Oshie kind of gets forgotten about on his own team from those looking from the outside. He's an Olympic star but he's barely even one of his team's four most notable players. Yet he came up in a big moment tonight and led his team to a win.

-As mentioned above, the Capitals really took it to the Penguins physically. They led the hit totals, 43-29. We rarely put much value into the hit statistic, but just to he naked eye, the Capitals won this battle.

-Orpik returned to the lineup after missing three games due to a suspected head injury. He looked solid. he saw a ton of top minutes against the Penguins' better players and played a fairly crisp game outside of Malkin's goal. He didn't seem to have any lingering effects from his ailment.

-Orlov pretty much got benched after the Lovejoy goal. He finished with 5:28 of ice time in an overtime game.

-Holtby is going to be a much stiffer challenge than Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. That was abundantly clear in this game.

Quotable

-Murray seemed to doubt the validity of the officials' call on Oshie's overtime goal:

“He made a good play. He had a little bit of time and space when he was driving wide. So I had to respect the shot and try to stay aggressive. I did that. I thought I beat him to the post and apparently the puck crossed the line. So that's about it.”

-Defenseman Ian Cole looked at the big picture:

“Our goal is to - the first two [games] when you're away to start [the series] – you want to get one in their building and take home ice away. There's still the opportunity to do that. I thought we played a great game today. Little things that we probably want to clean up but for the most part, I think we were in a good spot going to [overtime]. I mean, a tied game against the best team in the NHL going to [overtime] in their building, that's a good spot to be in the playoffs. Obviously we would like a better outcome but I think we played a good game. Had plenty of chances to score and had plenty of chances to win that game."

-Bonino talked about the pace of the game:

“Back and forth, up and down. That's playoff hockey with two good, deep teams. We didn't' get the outcome we wanted but that's the game you're going to see for how many games it goes.”

-Cullen spoke about the Capitals' being opportunistic:

“I think that's something you expect the way that they can play. You have to be smart with the puck and not give them any opportunities. I thought we did for stretches. I thought we did a good job of managing it but again, we had a few stretches where we didn't manage it and we end up in our end for stretches of time which takes away from our game. There's some areas we can clean up for sure."

-Cole talked about his former Blues teammate Oshie:

"He's an extremely talented player. I can't say enough good things about him as a person or as a player. We just need to be aware when he's out there. He can create a lot of stuff. He has the ability to create chances for his linemates. I think you see that. But I don't think we play him any different from the game plan going in. I think we just need to continue to be hard, take away his space and try to make those plays tough for him. You can see when he has time and space around the net, he has some really quick hand and can finish them off.”

-Oshie was team-first:

“It's cool to get the hat trick and score the overtime winner but right now, we have team goals. Not individual ones.

-Cole talked about the Wilson-Sheary hit:

“[Sheary] kind of tipped the puck in and ducked to get away and Wilson was coming out an stuck his legs out. No one likes to see that but it is playoff hockey so you've just got to play right through it. You've got to keep going. There's going to be those kinds of hits, those kinds of plays all over the ice. Obviously, they're going to try to get in guys heads and continue to hit them. We're going to continue to play hard as well. We're going to have to be a team that doesn't get sidetracked by that. Just goes right through it and continues to play. And I think we did a good job of that.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he didn't see the Wilson-Sheary hit:

“I'm sort of blank on that one because I really didn't see it. I think that hit was right by the benches. Everybody was standing up. I didn't see it. I can't say a whole a lot about it. I can't comment on it because I didn't see it.”

Trotz talked about winning the physical battle.

I think we're a bigger team. I know we're a bigger team and we're best when we play with our size and weight. I thought we were a little bit light at times. Especially though the middle [period]. You've got to use your assets. If we're going to have puck possession, we're going to have to do it with our size. We're going to have to go to the net. We're going to have to do all the things we do well.”

-Cole expects things to get nastier:

“Anytime you're playing a team over and over, guys are going to continue to feed off that and there's going to be more and more animosity built up over the series. In a seven-game series, that builds up quickly. I'm sure the intensity, the battle level, everything will increase as the series goes on."

-Cullen talked about the ice getting sloppy later:

“That's uncommon in the playoffs. It's warming up everywhere. The ice gets a little bit softer everywhere. I didn't feel like it was a major issue. It affects everybody."

-Cole dismissed any suggestion that his team was rusty:

“I thought we came out really well. I think the first five, 10 minutes there, we really handled the play. We just needed to sustain that through the course of the first period. I think we kind of maybe backed off a little bit there it seemed like. But it seems as the game went on, we fell right in there and continued to take it too them. I don't think there was too much regarding that, no.”

-Trotz talked about benching Orlov:

“I thought it was a pretty basic play. It was a one-on-three out and all of a sudden they get a breakaway out of it. Mistakes like that can't happen.”

-Trotz was asked about Ovechkin seeing a lot of Letang during the game:

“I don't think [Ovechkin] goes into any game and doesn't get a lot of attention. They wanted Letang against him. We're okay with that. One thing when I learned when I came here, I said, 'Ovie, maybe some games we'll manage you against different people and maybe take you off and give you better match-ups.' He doesn't want that. He wants to go against the best. And if Letang's their best, he wants to go against him.”

Trotz joked about the bizarre sequence involving Beagle's visor:

“That was sort of like a Halloween costume right there. He didn't know what to do. He said, 'I've got a stick. What do I do?' … Comical but a little bit dangerous."

-Richards had an interesting observation about the Capitals' first-round opponent, the Flyers, and the Penguins:

“It's probably a contrast of two games with [Philadelphia], how structured they are and coming up the ice together. And [Pittsburgh] makes those line passes, flip plays. So you just have to be patient, don't push and play their game. We just have to play our game and stick to our structure."

Numbers

-The Penguins led in shots, 45-35.

-Kessel led the game with six shots.

-Oshie and Carlson each led the Capitals with five shots.

-Letang led the game with 34:02 of ice time.

-He had 29:48 after the first three periods alone.

-Niskanen led the Capitals with 32:13 of ice time.

-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 46-39 (54 percent).

-Crosby was 19 for 28 (68 percent).

-Beagle was 12 for 19 (63 percent).

-Cole, Daley and Carlson each led the game with four blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-The Penguins have lost eight consecutive postseason overtime games. Their last win of that type was Orpik's series-clinching goal in a 4-3 win against the Islanders in Game 6 of a 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series:

-The last postseason hat tricks scored against the Penguins came in the same game. Flyers centers Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each netted three goals in an 8-5 win in Game 2 of a 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

-Ovechkin (Game 2 of a 2009 Eastern Conference semifinal series) and right winger Dino Ciccarelli (Game 4 of a 1992 Patrick Division semifinal) are the only other Capitals players to get a hat trick in a playoff game vs. the Penguins.

-This was the first time a player completed a postseason hat trick vs. the Penguins with an overtime goal.

-The Capitals are 8-1 all time in Game 1s vs. the Penguins.

Potpourri

-The Capitals distributed red light-up "Thundersticks" which made for a neat effect with the house lights down:

Visuals

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

(Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

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Yokitis leaves Vincentian to take Montour job

Written by Mike White on .

Montour High School hired a new boys basketball coach tonight. By George, the Vincentian coach got the job.
George Yokitis, who was extremely successful as Vincentian's coach the past four seasons, was hired at a school board meeting. He takes over for Will Saunders, who was not rehired after two seasons.

Yokitis was 157-51 at Vincentian (.754 percentage) and won two WPIAL Class A championships in 2011 and 2013. His teams made the WPIAL playoffs all eight seasons and won four section titles.

Before Yokitis took over, Vincentian was 22-51 in three previous seasons. (Yokitis is pictured after winning a WPIAL championship)

Yokitis said the decision of whether to leave Vincentian for Montour was "extremely difficult." Yokitis, 64, lives in Ross Township and works as a lawyer. He talked extensively about his reasons for taking the Montour job.

"First off, I've had the privilege of the last eight years working with the most wonderful kids you'd want to coach," said Yokitis. "I had so many people from college coaches to fans say what great kids we had. What we accomplished was because of the kids, not me. They made the semifinals [of the WPIAL] playoffs five times, which I think is extraordinary because it's difficult to do. Lord knows they probably would've won a couple more games if I didn't foul them up."

Yokitis laughed and then went on to say more.

"One of the reasons I am doing this is – and it was vital to me – was because the top administrators at Montour are good people and a lot of them are basketball people," said Yokitis. "Plus, I'm so impressed with Lou [Cerro] as their football coach and athletic director. He has genuine concern for the basketball program.

"Another thing is how the Montour kids were described to me by their superintendent and others. They're like the kids I had at Vincentian – hard working, gritty, but respectful and good sports.

"The last reason why I would do this - and it goes for anybody with a pulse – is that I like new challenges. It's one of the most vital and critical things I have going in my life. You get older like me, you like challenges. This is a tremendous challenge."

Montour was 13-10 this past season after going 9-14 the previous year.Under the WPIAL's new alignment for next season with six classifications, Montour will play in Class 5A Section 2. It shapes up as an extremely strong section with Chartiers Valley, Hampton, Knoch, Mars, Moon and West Allegheny.

"I'm going to get the opportunity to interface with many of the very best coaches in this area and the state," said Yokitis. "They're there and we know who they are."

Yokitis' teams at Vincentian were known for their uptempo, pressing style. He called it controlled chaos. The Royals were one of the few teams to average 90 points a game for an entire season when they averaged 90.5 in the 2013-14 season.

A big question is will Yoktis try to have Montour play the same way?

"My short answer is yes," said Yokitis. "I've been through this before with many people, and the reason I like to play that way is what I learned from Rick Pitino probably 30 years ago at Providence. Kids really like to play that way. Fans seem to like it and people seem to like it."

Montour hasn't been great the past two years, but the Spartans have some impressive teams – and players – at younger levels, including seventh and eighth.

Vincentian should also be pretty good without Yokitis. Four of the Royals' top seven players are sophomores.
And OK, let's have some fun now. Who might be the next Vincentian coach? If I'm Vincentian, I'm calling Dave DeGregorio tomorrow. Of course, he could end up somewhere else, too.

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Jersey hunt - Penguins at Capitals - Game 1 - 04-28-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The best jerseys at tonight's Penguins-Capitals game:

-This is sharp. Calle Johansson:

-This Kelly Miller fan is dealing with an "upper-body" injury:

-Dale Hunter:

-Don Beaupre:

-Former Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig is popular in white:

-Black:

-And red:

 

-Former Erie Otters forward Andre Burakovsky:

-Sergei Fedorov:

 

There are lots of 412/724ers here for warmups:

-Pascal Dupuis:

-Mario Lemieux:

-James Neal:

-Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury:

-Sidney Crosby is popular in black and blue:

-Phil Kessel:

-Carl Hagelin:

-No. 25 is popular. Maxime Talbot:

-And Kevin Stevens:

-There are a few one-time Penguins/Capitals represented. Eric Fehr has fans in regular:

-And Winter Classic:

-Taylor Chorney:

-Jaromir Jagr is popular in Pittsburgh:

-And Washington:

-Jersey of the Night: There's someone here wearing the jersey of former Penguins and Capitals goaltender Rick Tabaracci:

 

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Pregame thoughts - Penguins at Capitals - Game 1 - 04-28-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-With some ... let's say ... less than established NHL markets advancing to the second round of the playoffs, Penguins-Capitals has been trust into being the preeminent series of this round. Even if the Kings and Blackhawks had advanced or if an "Original" Six team like the Bruins or Canadiens were involved, this would still be the top series given the star power on each team. Virtually every national and international outlet which covers hockey has a presence here for Game 1. 

That brings us to Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. A decade into their marvelous careers, they remain the NHL's version of "Bird and Magic." Perhaps some players such as Jamie Benn or Patrick Kane who have surpassed them in terms of overall play at times, but when Crosby and Ovechkin play one another, attention must be paid even if one or both teams are down. if you're just casual fan with no particular allegiance to either of the teams, no two individuals give you more of a reason to just plop down on a coach and take in the spectacle on television.

It's hard to imagine the NHL recovering as well as it has from the 2004-05 lockout without their star power. The storyline for this series will pounded at you ad nauseam but it doesn't invalidate the magnitude of their personal rivalry.

Center Eric Fehr, a one-time teammate of both players, offered unique perspective on each player:

“I'm not going to lie. I think both players get up for the games. I think a lot of it is fan driven and media driven but it's hard to argue [against] it when you see how hard they play against each other and how into it the fans get for those games.”

-Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was asked if the rivalry between the players was legitimate:

“Yes and no. I think it's fair because they came in together. They've kind of gone back and forth, two different styles of play. The engines of their teams. It's fair to make that battle happen. There is a lot more that goes into it for sure. We see it it is fun. It's a cool story line. It keeps the attention off a lot of other guys who aren't used to the spotlight whereas those guys are.”

---

One player who could really tip the scales in this series will be center Evgeny Kuznetzov (right). He get overshadowed quite a bit in Washington by some of the stars that team boasts but he might be one of the five most dynamic players in the NHL. Fehr played with Kuznetsov during his rookie season in 2014-15:

“I think he's brought a lot of depth to the the team. I think he's taken a little bit of pressure off the top line needing to contribute every night. He's become one of the most dangerous players in the league and quite quietly playing behind Ovechkin and Backstrom.”

-Even if the Penguins can limit the damage Ovechkin and Backstrom do this series, as was the case in the regular season series, Kuznetsov can level things quite dramatically. This series will provide a great showcase for this marvelous talent.

---

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot remains the eighth defenseman on the Penguins' depth chart and barring at least two injuries to the top six, it doesn't look like he'll be in the lineup any time soon. Earlier this week, head coach Mike Sullivan was asked what was the benefit of having him around for the playoff push at the NHL level compared to having him play playoff games in the AHL:

“Number one, I think it's a great experience for Derrick. He's been around this team for a while now. He's played in a fair amount of games. He's been in the press box for a handful of games here down the stretch. But I think it's still a great learning experience for him. He's a good young player and we know he's going to get better. He's going to be a big part of this organziation. That has never wavered even though that he is not in our lineup every night.

We still believe in this kid. He's a very good player. So when you go through this type of experience, the high stakes environment down the stretch of the regular season and now the playoff experience I think is a great experience for a young player. And he's taking it all in right now. He is certainly one guy that is in the mix here. We know it's going to take more than just 20 players to accomplish our ultimate goal and he's been a part of it so far and he's going to continue to be a part of it. What's most important for Derrick at this point is that he controls what he can to make sure he's prepare when that opportunity comes when we tap him on the shoulder to play. From our standpoint, he's got a great attitude. He comes to practice every day. He works extremely hard. He does everything in his power to be ready.” 

---

-Former Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik appears set to play in the lineup tonight after missing three games due to a suspected head injury. He was injured on a hit by Flyers center Ryan White in Game 3 of their first round series:

-Speaking with Washington reporters today, Orpik took some blame for the hit:

“Yeah I saw it a couple days later. I probably let my guard down a little bit. It wasn't the hardest hit in the world. I think it was probably one of those ones where you didn't see it coming so you don't really brace for it. I think we were killing a penalty too. You don't normally get hit killing a penalty but I think it's part of being aware of who you're on the ice with. I probably let my guard down for a little bit so it probably a little bit of my own fault there.”

-Orpik, who joined the Capitals in the 2014 offseason, spoke about playing his former team in the playoffs:

"It's weird. It would be special if we won. I don't know. I think even a couple years removed from there, it's still a little bit weird playing against them, especially when we go on the road. It's a little bit different. I think there's only five guys left from a couple years when I was there. I think that makes it a little bit easier I think playing against them now."

---

-It's a rainy, humid day here in Washington, a city virtually at sea level in some parts. So it's fair to wonder if the ice in late April will hold up for a playoff game. Two Penguins players we talked with off the record after today's morning skate each said the ice was fine.

(Photos: Dave Sandford/Getty Images and Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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About the Capitals - Game 1 - 04-28-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Capitals.

When and where: 8:08 p.m., EDT. MCI Center Verizon Center.

TV: NBC Sports, CBC.

Leading Postseason scorer: Center Nicklas Backstrom, 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists).

Last Game: 1-0 road win against the Flyers in Game 6 of their first round series Sunday. Goaltender Braden Holtby (right) made 26 saves for the Capitals.

Probable goaltenders: Matt Murray (3-0, 1.33 GAA, .955 SV%) for the Penguins. Holtby (4-2, 0.84 GAA, .968 SV%) for the Capitals.

Injuries: For the Penguins, left winger Conor Sheary (undisclosed) is probable. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) is doubtful. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), center Kevin Porter (right ankle) and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle or foot) are on injured reserve. For the Capitals, defenseman Karl Alzner ("upper body") is probable. Defenseman Brooks Orpik ("upper body") is questionable. 

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess at their lines and pairings:

43 Conor Sheary - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
62 Carl Hagelin - 13 Nick Bonino - 81 Phil Kessel
14 Chris Kunitz - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 16 Eric Fehr
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 7 Matt Cullen - 17 Bryan Rust

Olli Maatta 58 Kris Letang
8 Brian Dumoulin - 6 Trevor Daley
28 Ian Cole - 12 Ben Lovejoy

-The Capitals had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess based on lines and pairings at practice Wednesday:

8 Alex Ovechkin - 19 Nicklas Backstrom - 77 T.J. Oshie
90 Marcus Johansson - 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov - 14 Justin Williams
25 Jason Chimera - 10 Mike Richards - 65 Andre Burakovsky
26 Daniel Winnik - 83 Jay Beagle - 43 Tom Wilson

44 Brooks Orpik - 74 John Carlson
27 Karl Alzner- 2 Matt Niskanen
9 Dmitry Orlov - 88 Nate Schmidt

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Capitals, this happened:

-Sheary indicated he is fine after not practicing the past two days for what were termed "maintenance" days to treat bumps and bruises.

"I feel good. I think just my first series, I was playing a lot of minutes and there was some little things that were nagging me. I just feel good though this morning." - Sheary.

-Fleury participated in the morning skate but appeared to primarily be a spectator to Murray and Jeff Zatkoff.

-Alzner told Washington reporters he will be in the lineup. He did not practice the past two days.

-Orpik is described as a "game-time" decision. He has been sidelined the past three games.

-The referees are (No. 33) Francois St. Laurent and (No. 28) Chris Lee. The stand-by referee is (No. 9) Dan O'Rourke. The linesmen are (No. 54) Greg Devorksi and (No. 70) Derek Nansen. The stand-by linesman is (No. 77) Tim Nowak.

(Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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