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Capitals at Penguins - 01-22-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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Apologies for the late start today. The Parkway East was just lovely this morning:

-It's chilly but sunny day in Pittsburgh. Good hockey weather.

-The Igloo is still the Igloo in its current state:

-The current barn:

-The ice:

-The rink:

-Some sights around the arena. We spotted two Ulf Samuelsson fans. One wearing a "Snoop Dogg" jersey:

-The other with the "pigeon" logo:

-Matthew Barnaby:

-Andy Bathgate:

-There are more than a few  Capitals fans here:

-This guy already has two goals:

-Some of the Penguins are heroes to these fans. "Cynep-Geno":

-The "Real Deal" James Neal:

-And "The Flower:"

-On the upper level facing Uptown, they have blinds to shield out the sun:

-The Civic Arena:

-Pray for this poor Mark Letestu fan:

-Non-Jersey Foul of the Day: Mark Recchi Flyers:

-Jersey Foul of the Day: Mighty Ducks:

-This fan is calling Alex Ovechkin a goat in Russian which is apparently a serious slur in Russia:

-This is sharp. James Neal Plymouth Whalers:

-Jersey of the Night Day: Former Penguins and Capitals defenseman Bryan "Bugsy" Watson sandwiched between a Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell fans:

-Watson owns a sports bar in Arlington, Va.

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Pascal Dupuis, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, Kris Letang, Brooks Oprik and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Arron Asham and Ben Lovejoy.

-The Capitals' starters are Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks, Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner, Dennis Wideman and Michal Neuvirth.

-Their scratches are Marcus Johansson, Tomas Kundratek and Jeff Schultz.

FIRST PERIOD

17:58: John Erskine air mails a slapper from just outside the Penguins' blue line on the left wing. Fleury eats it up.

16:53: Marcus Johansson, who was has been working as the Capitals' top center is out due to an illness. According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, the Capitals' lines look like this:

Alex Ovechkin - Mathieu Perreault - Jason Chimera
Matt Hendricks - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Jeff Halpern - Alexander Semin
Jay Beagle - Cody Eakin - Joel Ward

16:02: After a strong forecheck by Jeffrey, Dupuis has a chance to the right of the net but he can' get a clean stick on it.

15:26: Kennedy pumps a slapper on net from the right wing. Neuvirth kicks it out.

15:17: The Penguins get the first power play of the day as Dennis Wideman hits Chris Kunitz from behind into the boards of the left wing corner in Washington's zone. That's two minutes for cross checking. Kunitz sold that a bit. Kunitz, Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Steve Sullivan take the ice.

15:09: And the Penguins get the first goal of the day. After the Capitals win the faceoff in the left circle, Hamrlik tries to pound a wraparound clearing attempt around the boards from the left corner. Letang corrals it at the right point, moves towards the slot, locks up and chops a slapper at the cage. The puck sails by Neuvirth's glove, thanks in part to a screen from Kunitz. That was pretty quick. The goal is unassisted. Kunitz deserves one. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 1-0.

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14:08: The Penguins are off and running. After a delayed faceoffs, Malkin wins a draw  in teh right circle. Neal is directly behind him, takes the puck and snaps of a lethal wrister to the far side toasting Neuvirth's glove hand on the far side.What a disgusting shot. Malkin gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song double-shifts. Penguins 2-0.

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13:02: Brooks Laich tries to jam in a backhander from the left of the cage but plunks it off the side of the net.

10:46: Wideman is getting the Ovechkin/Hossa/Jagr/Subban booing treatment anytime he touches the puck. It doesn't take long for Penguins to grow malice in their hearts.

8:40: Off a turnover at the Penguins' blue line by Ovechkin, Kunitz leads a rush the opposite way. He gains the offensive zone and from the slot, he taps a pass to Neal on the right wing. Neal then distributes to Malkin trailing in the right circle. Malkin then one-touches it to Neal down low near the goal line on the right wing. He whips a wirster on net. Neuvirth kicks it out with his left leg.

7:41: Ovechkin pushes the puck up the left wing and is "greeted" with boos.

6:08: Neal pushes the puck up the right wing, gains the offensvie zone and hsi smacked to the ice by Dmitry Orlov. Oof.

5:12:  Tangradi and Erksine race for a puck in the left wing corner of the Capitals' zone. Erskine plays it first and clears it out of danger. Tangradi smacks him into the glass and dislodges the same piece of glass which fell loose Friday when Tangradi and Alexei Emelein of the Canadiens collided. That's either deja vu or just a bad piece of glass.

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4:16: Kennedy works the puck up the right wing of the neutral zone and is tripped up by Alexander Semin in front of the Penguins' penalty box. That's two minutes. Malkin, Neal, Letang, Sullivan and Kunitz take the ice.

3:30: Neal drives a slapper from above the left circle. It hits a body in front.

2:03: Malkin cranks a one-timer from the right circle wide on the near side.

2:37: Talk about sacrifice. Malkin cranks two one-imers from the top of the slot. Knuble blocks them both. It takes some guts to do that.

2:16: The Semin minor is killed. The Penguins put a lot of pressure on Washington that two minutes.

1:55: Kennedy punches a slapper from the right circle. it hits a skate and deflects behind the net. It riccochets to the left of the cage. Dupuis jumps on it and swats a shot off the post.

1:53: Ovechkin runs over Matt Niskanen on the right wing wall of the Capitals' zone and steals the puck racing it up the left wing boards. As he approaches the Penguins' blue line, Kennedy chases afer him an steals it back.

0:32: Paul Martin floats a wrister from the right point. It hits a body in front. Richard park settles the rebound in the left circle and whips it on net. Neuvirth kicks it out with his left leg.

0:11: Tangradi is called for high sticking Eakin. That's two minutes. Tough time to take a penalty. Craig Adams, Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek and Dupuis take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Capitals 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-After a slow start for both team, the Penguins dominated that period. They had the bulk of puck possession in the offensive zone. They make life miserable for Neuvirth. They could not have played a better period.

-The Capitals look horrendous. They could barely get the puck into the Penguins' zone. We haven't seen them look this bad in person in a long time.

-Kris Letang. He's kind of good.

-James Neal. He's kind of good at shooting.

-The Penguins lead the game in shots, 9-4.

-Neal leads the game with three shots.

-None of the Capitals has more than one.

-Letang leads the game with 9:07 of ice time.

-Alzner leads the Capitals with 8:34.

-Faceoffs are tied, 9-9 (50 percent).

-Laich is 7 for 12 (58 percent).

-Park is 2 for 3 (67 percent).

-Niskanen and Knuble each lead the game with two blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

20:00: The Capitals will have 1:49 of power-play time to work with on fresh ice. Adams, Cooke, Orpik and Michalek take the ice.

18:55: Chimera puts a wrister on net from the left wing. Fleury kicks it out to the right circle. Mathieu Perrault is there but can't get a clean stick on the puck and has his shot blocked by Park.

18:34: Save that on tape. Mike Knuble had a partial breakaway and didn't score. He takes pass on the right wing, sneaks by Paul Martin and attacks the net. He goes at Fleury with a backhand, jukes him out and snaps to his forehand. HisHe puts a shot off the right post. Fleury is able to cover the rebound. A big break for the Penguins.

18:11: The Tangradi minor is killed. The Capitals created a few chances there.

16:10: Letang swats a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front. Kennedy battles for the rebound with Orlov. Neuvirth is able to pull the puck in with his scik and cover to freeze play.

15:53: Michalek play a puck in the right wing corner and is blaster to the ice by Ovechkin. Ovechkin left his feet a bit on that hit. No call.

15:24: Dupuis races up the right win the the puck and snaps off a wrister. John Carlson blocks it.

14:40: Chimera chucks a wrister on net from the left wing. Fleury knocks it dead and lunges out to cover the rebound.

14:31: Ovechkin and Orpik races for a loose puck above the right circl of the Penguins' zone. Orpik smacks him to the ice and pokes the puck into the neutral zone.

14:25: Kennedy has a wrister from the left wing blocked by Wideman.

13:11: Attendance is announced as 18,565. It is the team's 233rd consecutive sellout.

11:24: Michalek slams Hendricks from behind into the end boards of the Penguins' zone with an elbow to the back of the head. That's was stupid. The NHL could take a look at that for discipline. Adams, Dupuis, Orpik and Martin take the ice.

11:00: Ovechkin races into the offensive zone to a shower of boos. From the slot, he chucks a wrister on net. Fleury kicks it out.

10:56: Ovechkin and Orpik mix it up in the right wing corner. The exchange shoves. Semin comes in pretending he's tough. How cute! Orpik is called for holding Ovechkin. A bad situation for the Penguins. They will have a lengthy five on three to kill.

10:37: There's an even up call. Brouwer shoves Martin from behind in front of the Penguins' crease. Martin sells it well and falls to one knee. We'll have a four on three for 1:13.  Martin, Adams and Cooke take the ice.

9:24: The Michalek minor expires. Four on four.

8:38: Just before the Orpik minor expires, the Capitals' strike. Ovechkin controls the puck at the top of the crease and deals a pass to Wideman in the right circle. Wideman moves by a falling Dupuis and deals a pass to Laich just in front of the crease. Laich fends off Michalek and is able to punch a wrister by Fleury to pull his team within one goal. The Penguins had a breakdown there. Wideman and Ovechkin get assists. Penguins 2-1.

8:56: The Orpik minor expires. The Penguins will have a brief power play.

8:37: The Brouwer minor is killed. Five on five.

6:42: Off a turnover by Capitals in the neutral zone, Tangradi snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Neuvirth fights it off. That was the Penguins' first shot of the period.

5:22: Tie game. Ovechkin gains the offensive zone on the left wing and deals a pass to Perreault in the slot. Perreault snaps off a wrister from the slot. Fleury boots it out to the right circle. Semin is right there and lifts it into the cage by Fleury's glove hand. A bad rebound allow. And it looked like Sullivan was late on his back check to cover Semin. Another sloppy goal to allow. Perreault and Ovechkin get assists. Capitals 2, Penguins 2.

3:06: Malkin picks up a loose puck in the loose puck in the neutral zone and roars into the offensive zone in the left wing. He leaves a drop pass in the left circle. Kennedy over skates it but is tripped up by Hendricks. Kunitz is there and swats it towards the cage. It hits a skate in front and deflects juuuuuust wide. Malkin chases after it behidn the net. Play is halted. Two Capitals players give the business to Malkin. Kennedy races in like a mad man going after anyone in white. A scrum develops. Kennedy (5-foot-11, 183) and Brouwer (6-foot-3, 213 pounds) square off. They mostly wrestle around on the boards. Brouwer gets in an early right. Kennedy plays defense and lands his own right. They wrestle some more and Brouwer fals in the left circle with Kennedy on top. A whole mess of penalties are doled out. The Penguins will have a five-on-four power play. Malkin, Neal, Sullivan, Kunitz and Sullivan take the ice.

1:55: Malkin pumps a one-timer from the right circle. It hits a stick in front and deflecs wide. Malkin and Knuble battle for a puck in the right circle. Knuble trips him up. That's two minutes for holding. The Penguins will have a five on three for 51 seconds. Dan Bylsma calls a time out to get organized. Malkin, Neal, Sullivan, Kunitz and Sullivan take the ice.

1:06: Hendricks' minor is killed. Five on four for 1:09.

0:50: Sullivan snaps off a one-timer from the right wing along the goal line but it misses the net and wraps itself  around the right wing boards. It ends up becoming a breakout "pass" for Henricks who races up ice on a breakaway. Letang chase him down and hounds him the entire way. As he approaches the net, he goes backhand and is denied by Fleury's left leg. What a save. Sullivan owes Fleury a beer.

0:27: Martin smacks a one-timer from the left point. Neuvrith kicks it out.

0:00: End of period. Capitals 2, Penguins 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-That was pretty much the exact opposite of the first period. The Penguins just lost their discipline and defensive structure and lost the lead. That was a pretty lousy 20 minutes for them.

-The Penguins have really missed a great opportunity at the end of the period with this extended power play. The haven't pressured the Capitals.

-Even five on five, the Penguins haven't pressured the Capitals offensively. They didn't even get a shot on net until Tangradi had one with 6:42 left in the period.

-The Capitals initiated most of the contact this period. It seemed to throw the Penguins off.

-Shots are even, 14-14.

-Chimera leads the game with four.

-Malkin and Neal each led the Penguins with three.

-Laich leads the game with 17:51 of ice time.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 17:05.

-The Penguins lead in faceoffs, 22-17 (56 percent).

-Dustin Jeffrey is 6 for 10 (60 percent).

-Laich is 11 for 27 (41 percent).

-Carlson, Orlov and Hamrlik each lead the game with three blocked shots.

-Niskanen, Dupuis and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.

-Malkin is your IceTime coverboy:

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will have seven seconds of power-play time to start the period.

19:53: The Knuble minor expires. The Penguins wasted a big opportunity there.

18:52: And the Capitals take a lead. Perreauls gains the offensive zone on the right wing. He deals a little pass to Semin. Semin has an acre of ice to work with. He deals a pass to Ovechkin. Michalek gives Oveckin a healthy cushion. Ovechkin takes that space and snaps off  lethal one-timer which toasts Fleury on the blocker side. What. A. Shot. Semin and Perreault get assists. Capitals 3-2.

17:38: Malkin circles around the back of hte net and whisp a wrhister at the cage from the left circle. Neuvirth holds it out. Neal and Kunitz are there for the rebound but no dice.

15:29: From the right wing, Tangradi cuts to the slot and whips a wrister at the cage. Alzner blocks it.

15:00: Kennedy and Brouwer emerge from the penalty box and are greeted with stick claps from their teammates.

13:58: Dupuis turns teh puck over in the offensive zone. Alzner jumps on it and snaps it towards the cage. Perreault is in front and re-directs it on net. Fleury eats it up.

13:34: Letang gains the offensive zone on the right wing and leave a drop pass for Dupuis. Dupuis chops a slapper from the right point well over the cage. It deflects

12:54: Tie game again. Malkin gains the offensive with a furious effort. He loses the puck and chases after it in the right wing corner. He beats Hamrlik with a strong puck battle and deals a pass to Neal in the right circle. Neal takes the pass on his backhand, flips it to his forehand and snaps off a wrister which finds away to elude Neuvirth and hits twine. What an effort by Malkin. He gets an assist along with Orpik. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Capitals 3, Penguins 3.

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11:03: The end of the Penguins' bench is open. Apparently no one wants to sit next to "Pierre" McGuire:

10:00: Neal is called for tripping Carlson. This is a big two minutes. Adams, Michalek, Orpik and Cooke take the ice.

8:59: Ovechkin winds up and cranks a one-timer from the left point. Michalek leans down and blocks it.

8:00: The Penguins kill off  Neal's minor. that was huge.

6:21: Orpik corrals a loose uck at the right point and chucks it at the cage. Neuvirth knocks it dead and covers.

4:48: Dupuis sweeps a backhander on net from the right wing corner. Neuvirth kicks it out.

3:49: Sullivan wheels his way into the offensive zonw with some impressive skating on the right wing. He snaps off  a wrister from the right circle. Neuvirth knocks it dead and covers.

2:18: Off a give and go with Malkin, Neal snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Neuvirth fights it off with his glove. HUGE save.

1:23: Cooke chucks a backhander from the right circle on net. Neuvirth kicks it out.

0:31: WHOA! Brouwer takes a pass on the right wing, winds up and cranks a slapper to the far side. It beats Fleury over his blocker and CLANKS off the far post. Everyone in this building lost their breath.

0:00: End of period. Capitals 3, Penguins 3.

THIRD INTERMISSION

The Penguins have a 26-20 lead in shots.

OVERTIME

3:57: Letang circles around the neutral zone allow his team to make a line change. He taps a pass to malkin on the left wing. malkin winds up and crnks a aslapper which Hamrlik blocks.

3:29: What a show. Michalek taps a feed to Neal at the top of the slot. Neal cranks a slapper which hits off a skate or stick and sails wide to the right of the cage. It ricochets off end boards and deflects to Malkin sitting all alone to the right of the cage. Malkin leans down and snaps off a wrister by the left skate of Neuvirth. Malkin pounds the glass to celebrate. This place goes nuts. The "Woo-Hoo!" song and the "Malkamania" video are played. Mike Lange tells us where Elvis is. End of game. Penguins 4, Capitals 3.

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POSTGAME

-What else can you say about Evgeni Malkin? He's the best player in the world right now. The Penguins were struggling and losing in the third period. Essentially, he just decided to win the game. He beat four Capitals players to set James Neal's tying goal. And he just knew where to be on the ice for the game-winner in overtime. This is probably the best we've ever seen Malkin play.

-The scary thing is Malkin and his line was bottled up by the Capitals during the previous meeting, Dec. 1. Eleven days later, he ripped them up. They could not contain Malkin. They tried to limit his time and space, and they did that for the most part today, but any time he got an inch, even for a second, he exploited it.

-How much of a difference does Kris Letang make? He makes life easier for all the other defenseman. Even if you discout the fact he has two goals in his last two gmes, Letang's play in all three zones on the power play, penalty kill and five on five has been excellent.

-James Neal is just a goal scorer. Period. We can't recall the last time the Penguins had someone with a release like he has. Malkin and Sidney Crosby don't have this type of release. Dare we compare Neal's release to Mario Lemieux?

-After a lousy first period, Alex Ovechkin woke up and carried his team to a lead. He started crashing his body in the second period and sparked his team to mount a comeback. When he's motivated, Ovechkin can be scary.

-Defenisvely, the Penguins did not play their best game. They had a few structural breakdowns that afford the Capitals way too much space.

-The pairing of Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin did not have a strong game. They were brought here in part to shut down the Capitals top scorers. Michalek was on the ice for all three Capitals goals.

-Fleury had a good game. It wasn't a lights-out performance by any stretch, but he was strong enough to win obviously.

-The Penguins led in shots, 27-20.

-Neal and Malkin each led the game with six shots.

-Add in Kunitz's one shot and that line had seven fewer shots than the Capitals.

-Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera each led the Capitals with four.

-Laich led the game with 28:48 of ice time.

-Letang led the Penguins with 27:14.

-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 33-27 (55 percent).

-Richard Park was 8 for 11 (73 percent).

-Halpern was 6 for 9 (67 percent).

-John Carlson led the game with five blocked shots.

-Letang led the Penguins with four.

-Neal recorded his 50th career point with the Penguins. (As well as his 51st and 52nd.)

-Malkin has seven game-winning goals this season. The franchise's single-season record is 12 by Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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