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Penguins at Capitals - 12-01-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Greetings from the belly of the beast:

And it didn't take us long to run into a little ingestion:

-There are a few normals here. Like this fan of former Penguins/Capitals forward Matt Bradley:

-And a few friendlies like this Deryk Engelland fan:

-Across the street, the Smithsonian Institute's Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture is located. After Penguins wins here in Washington, Penguins fans will gather here and chant "LET'S GO PENS!"

-The Wizards' practice court:

-The ice:

-Some sights around the barn. Someone needs to update their pictures:

-The DJ is pretty much out in the open:

-Why are the seats here purple?

-Sidney Crosby is popular as ever here:

-A few more friendlies. Mario Lemieux and Crosby:

-Jordan Staal and Craig Adams:

-Here's an interesting choice given what he did to Jay Beagle in October. Arron Asham:

-James Neal:

-Crosby Rimouski Oceanic and Marc-Andre Fleury:

-Matthew Barnaby:

-412 is well represented:

-The all-time leading playoff scorer against the Penguins, Peter Bondra:

-Olaf Kolzig:

-This man might have worn this jersey more the the player himself the past two years. Tom Poti:

-Alan May:

-A Hartford Whalers fan:

-Adam Oates:

-This guy isn't making any friends tonight:

-Dmitri Khristich:

-A very lost Henrik Lundqvist fan:

-Jersey of the Night: Troy Brouwer Norfolk Admirals:

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal, Deryk Engelland, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their' scratches are Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek and Joe Vitale.

-The Capitals' starters are Cody Eakin, Marcus Johansson, Alexander Semin, Dmitry Orlov, Jeff Schultz and Tomas Vokoun.

-Their scratches are Mike Green, Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Perreault.

-The national anthem:

FIRST PERIOD

19:11: Sidney Crosby controls the puck in the left wing boards of the Washington zone for the first time and is greeted with boos.

18:33: Crosby winds up and cranks a slapper form the left circle. Vokoun swats it way with his glove hand.

17:42: The Penguins' defensive combinations are kind of mish-mashed. Simon Despres is playing with Matt Niskanen.

17:14: Chris Kunitz whips a low wrister from the right circle. Vokoun closes the gakes and kicks it out.

15:48: Coke and Steel ech have a chance in tight but Vokoun covers the puck.

15:19: Neal rockets a one-timer from the right wing circle off the near post. It deflects behind Vokoun and through the crease. Oof.

14:39: And the target on Asham's back grows larger in Washington. he controls the puck behind the net and sneaks a backhanded pass from the right of the cage through the crease. Craig Adams is there all alone on the back door to the left of the crease and punches in the easy goal on his forehand. What a play by Asham. The always healthy collection of Penguins fans here celebrate. Asham and Richard Park get assists. Penguins 1-0.

14:33: And John Erksine decides to go after that target. On the ensuing faceoff, he rops the gloves with Asham. They long up in the neutral zone. Erskine lands and early right. Asham moves insides and lands a few rights. Both players throw some big rights and appear to miss more often than no. The fight ends when Erskine shoves Asham to the ice and lands on top of him. Give that to Erskine on points. A pretty even fight.

14:01: Alex Ovechkin is playing physical. He drops Craig Adams with a good hit in the neutral zone.

11:08: Martin makes a nice strip against Matt Hendricks behind the Penguins' net and plays the puck up ice.

10:24: What action! Mike Knuble whips a wrister from teh slot. It hits a cluster of bodies in the crease. Fleury is swimming. Ovechkin has a chance with the rebound in the crease but no dice.

10:06: Ovechkin blasts Dupuis in theright wing corner boards of the Capitals' zone.

9:18: Asham and Erskine leave the box to stick claps from their teammates.

8:52: The Penguins get the first power play as Eakin is called for high sticking Craig Adams in the left circle of the Penguins' zone. Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steve Sullivan, Martin and Neal take the ice.

7:30: Brouwer coasts in on a sem-breakaway From the slot, he whips a wrister wide to the left of the cage. He has to get that on net.

7:04: Niskanen booms a one-timer from the left point wide of the cage.

6:52: The Eakin minor is killed. The Penguins did next to nothing with that chance.

6:12: Hendricks has a chance in tight but snaps it wide of the cage.

5:20: Neal snaps off a low harmless wrister from the right circle. Vokoun kicks it out with his right leg.

4:41: Malkin challenges Erskine one-on-one in the slot. Erskine goes stick on puck and the puck deflects into the right wing corner. Both players chase after it. Erskine slams and drops Malkin into the boards. Oof.

3:25: What a play. Bortuzzo leads a rusinto the offensive zone on the right wing. He leaves a pass for Park on the left wing. Park deals a pass to Asham who taps the puck juuuust wide to the right of the cage.

3:27: Staal lifts a wrister from the right circle. Vokoun eats it up.

2:13: Dennis Wideman chops a slapper from the right point wayyyyy high of the cage.

0:24: Brooks Liach has a chances in tight but Engelland ties up his stick just enough to prevent a goal. What a play.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Capitals 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Penguins were safe and precise that period while the Capitals were sloppy and aggressive.

-The Capitals took the body and attacked the offensive zone quite a bit but just couldn't really generate too much sustained pressure.

-Ovechkin looks frustrated but motivate. he's hitting anything in white but not really getting in on too many scoring chances.

-Despres has been hard to notice and that's probably a good thing.

-The Penguins' fourth line of Asham, Adams and Park has been the best line of the entire game thus far.

-The Penguins lead in shots, 13-4.

-Crosby and John Carlson each lead the game with two shots.

-Engelland leads the game with 8:31 of ice time.

-Carlson leads the Capitals with 8:04.

-Faceoffs are tied, 8-8 (50 percent).

-Jeff Halpern is 3 for 4 (75 percent).

-Staal is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-Halpern and Chris Kunitz each lead the game with two blocked shots.

-How is Roman Hamrlik a healthy scratch?

SECOND PERIOD

18:40: Tie game. Chimera controls the puck in the left wing corner. He skates towards the net. Orpik is in the crease but skates backwards away from the puck to cover the backdoor presumably. Chimera walks in uncontested and flips a backhander by the glove hand of Fleury. A bad goal to allow. Joel Ward and Brooks Laich get assists. Capitals 1, Penguins 1.

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15:35: After three stagnant minutes, Kennedy cranks a slapper from the right point. Vokoun gloves it.

15:07: Chimera swats a wrister the cage from the left wing wall. Fleury knocks it down. Laich fights off a check in front of the crease and swats it wide of the cage. A bad rebound for Fleury allow.

14:14: Despres gives Marcus Johansson a shove behind the Penguins' net. Johansson takes an exaggerated fall into the boards. The officials aren't buying it. No call.

13:37: Off a rush, Ovechkin deals a pass from the right circle to Backstromt railing on the left wing. Backstrom has an acre of ice to work with and snaps off a wrister. Fleury is out of position. Thankfully for the Penguins, the puck appears to hit off the cross bar and deflects out of play.

12:39: Ovechkin knocks down Bortuzzo in front of hte Penguins' crease without the puck. That's two minutes for interference.  Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Sullivan and Martin take the ice.

12:03: Crosby is stripped of the puck by Halpern in the Capitals' slot. Halpern plays it down ice for a clear. Great defensive play.

11:12: Martin chops a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.

10:47: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Vokoun knocks it dead and covers.

10:37: As Ovechkin's minor is killed, Niskanen blasts a oe-timer from the top of the slot wide to the left of the cage.

9:58: Off a little give and go with Crosby, Dupuis snaps off a wrister from the right circle wide of the cage.

8:56: Bortuzzo whips a wrister from the right point. Vokoun fights it off despite a little interference from Asham.

8:32: Johansson drive sup the left wing one-on-one with Cooke. He blows by Cooke and whips a wrister wide on the near side.

8:13: And the Capitals get a chance to take a lead as Staal is called for charging Semin. A really tickytack call. Staal didn't really leave his feet. Semin just took the hit badly. Adams, Dupuis, Orpik and Martin take the ice.

8:09: Off a faceoff win, Orlov booms a one-timer from the right point. Fleury eats it up.

6:59: Cooke settles a bouncing puck at the top of his slot and whips it down ice for a clear.

6:13: Staal's minor is killed. The Capitals did little with that chance.

5:35: Despres tries to stand up Ward on the left wing boards of the offensive zone. Ward sticks him on his wallet for his troubles.

5:25: Niskanen snaps off a wrister from the left point. It hits a cluster of bodies in front.

4:35: Malkin settles a bouncing puck to the left of the crease, turns and whips it on net. Vokoun eats it up.

4:04: Despres battles Hendricks behind the net for a puck. He puts an right arm around Henricks hip and Hendricks takes a tumble. That's two minutes. Duspuis, Staal, Orpik and Martin take the ice.

2:04: And two minutes later, the Capitals fail to even record a shot.

1:27: Brouwer tries to jam in a forehand wraparound from the left of the cage but Fleury holds it out.

1:08: Tough time to take a penalty. Allzner holds up Malkin behind the Capitals' net. That was kind of ticky tack. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Sullivan and Martin take the ice.

0:03:Neal tries to jam in a forehand shot from the right of the cage but whips it through the crease.

0:00: End of period. Capitals 1, Penguins 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-This is Penguins-Capitals right? Ovechkin versus Crosby? It's been Joel Ward versus Arron Asham thus far. This has been an ugly game and the grinders are dictating the flow of this game.

-The Capitals quietly controlled the first five minutes of the second period before the Penguisn evened things out.

-Both power plays have stunk.

-Despres appeared to have a little bit more confidence that period and took a few more chances.

-The Penguins have a 26-15 lead in shots.

-James Neal has been quiet.

-Kennedy and Malkin each lead the game with four shots.

-Brouwer leads the game with three.

-Martin leads the game with 19:33 of ice time.

-Wideman leads the Capitals with 18:32.

-The Capitals are dominating faceoffs, 25-13 (66 percent).

-Backstrom is 10 for 11 (91 percent).

-Staal is 3 for 7 (43 percent).

-Halpern and Kunitz each lead the game with two blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will have 52 seconds of power-play time on fresh ice. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Sullivan and Martin get the call.

19:08: The Alzner minor is killed. The Penguins did little with that chance.

17:24: Chris Kunitz Scoring winger. Kennedydeals a puck into the offensive zone off the right wing boards. Johansson seemingly has the puck under control but Kunitz strips it. Erskine is there to defend but blows a tire. Kunitz walks in and whips a knuckler of a wrister which glances off the left shoulder of Vokoun and into the net. What an ugly goal. Kennedy and Despres get assists. It's Despres' first career point. The Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 2-1.

15:32: Crosby tries to jam in a forehand wraparound from the left of the cage but puts it off the post.

15:19: Chimera chucks a wrister from the right wing wide of the cage

12:41: Ovechkin booms a slapper from teh left circle. He's off the mark.

11:48: Malkin plays a puck up ice from his own slot. Ovechkin tries to run him. Malkin braces for the hit and drops his rival to the ice.

11:42: Neal plays a pass into the crease from the right wing. Erskine almost taps it into his own net. Vokoun holds it out. Erskine owes Vokoun a beer.

9:52: Off a give and go with Ovechkin, Semin attacks the net with the puck off the left wing but can't beat Fleury down low.

8:24: Engelland blocks a light wrister from Schultz from the left point.

7:43: Alzner snaps off a wrister from the right point. It hits something in front and deflects wide to the far side. That had trouble written all over it.

7:32: After an icing call, Dan Bylsma calls time out to give his team a breather.

5:32: Ovechkin drops Engelland into Fleury behind the net. Both Penguins take a tumble. Johansson has a chance int he slot but he hustles a wrister which flutters in off his stick. Fleury recovers in time to catch the puck. With a commercial stoppage, that lame "UNLEASH THE FURY!" video is played:

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4:55: Kunitz pretty much tackles Chimera in front of the Capitals' bench. No call.

4:33: Erkine pounds a slapper from the right point. Engelland blocks it.

3:12: Off a faceoff win in the left circle, Alzner swats a one-timer which hits a cluster of bodies in front.

2:11: Malkin races up the right wing and rips a wrister on net. Vokoun eats it up.

1:15: Carlson tries to coast in on the left wing. Orpik lurks behind a few bodies and BLAM! He sticks Carlson on his backside. What a hit!

1:06: Adams cranks a slapper from the right win. Vokoun makes the save. Staal follows up on the rebound but puts it wide to the left of the cage. That could have sealed the win.

0:37: The Capitals call time out to get organized. Vokoun is pulled.

0:00: End of game. Capitals fans boo their team off the ice. Penguins 2, Capitals 1.

POSTGAME

-This was a weird game to figure out. The Capitals appeared to struggle with their new system. And the Penguins didn't exactly take advantage of the situation.

-This was as meat and potatoes of a Penguins-Capitals game as we can remember. All three of the goals were fairly ugly. Every inch on the ice was contested. This was not run and gun hockey we remember with these two teams.

-That said, it was fairly entertaining. Both teams were physical, especially the Capitals. New coach Dale Hunter acknowledged the fact that the Penguins had two rookies on defense and he wanted his team to exploit that. The Capitals were aggressive physically. It just didn't really lead to many offensive chances.

-The Penguins stars hardly stood out in this game. Crosby was fairly quiet. Malkin had a few chances but even those were hardly of a high quality variety. The Penguins' grinders like Richard Park, Craig Adams and Arron Asham were their best players up front.

-The Penguins veterans on defense stepped up, particularly Deryk Engelland and Paul Martin. Engelland played as if everything he owned was on the line. He was physical, he blocked shots, he helped hold players like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in check. And he even joined in a bit offensively. He played a very complete game.

-Paul Martin was actually named the first start if you can believe that. He was excellent for what he is. A sound, positional defenseman with good wheels. He played a strong game in all three zones. He played like the 2010-11 version of Paul Martin.

-A key point in this game might have been the fight between Arron Asham and John Erskine after the goal by Adams. Erskine said he wasn't trying to avenge the fight between Asham and Jay Beagle. He was just trying to swing momentum back after the Penguins got the goal. On the surface, it looked like he accomplished that. The Penguins could have put the game out of reach from that point on.

-Simon Despres was steady in his debut. He seemed confident with the puck. He didn't seem to flustered by playing the franchise's biggest rival. And he didn't have any mistakes. A solid debut for him.

-On 17 shifts, Despres had 10:30 of ice time, one shot and was a plus-2.

-Ditto Robert Bortuzzo. He played a safe simple game.

-A reader of The Pensblog caught video of John Carlson elbowing Matt Cooke at the end of the game:

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-The Capitals looked like team which has lost its identity, which is understandable given their recent coaching change. The effort was there. They were hitting a ton. But they just seemed lost in terms of having any sort of scheme.

-The Penguins led in shots, 35-17.

-Evgeni Malkin led the game with seven shots.

-Troy Brouwer led the Capitals with three.

-Martin led the game with 28:11 of ice time.

-Dennis Wideman led the Capitals with 26:02.

-The Capitals dominated faceoffs, 37-17 (69 percent).

-Nicklas Backstrom was 14 for 16 (88 percent).

-Jordan Staal was 4 for 11 (36 percent).

-Engelland led the game with four blocked shots.

-Jeff Halpern, Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner, Alexander Semin and Carlson each led the Capitals with two blocked shots.

-Tyler Kennedy moved ahead of John Chabot for 60th place on the all-time scoring list.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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