Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 9:00 pm by Dan Gigler
afc-north-championship-in-tweetsSECOND QUARTER We gotta have it!!! Hate not being able to fight with yall. Brothers I love yall, Pittsburgh Steelers "Hold It Down" A photo posted by Cortez Allen (@cortez_l_allen) on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:17pm PST We gotta have it!!! Hate not being able to fight with yall. Brothers I love yall, Pittsburgh Steelers "Hold It ... Read More and Comment
Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 3:51 pm by Seth Rorabaugh
sid-s-going-to-be-fine-12-28-14  With one goal in his past 12 games, Penguins center Sidney Crosby's lack of offensive production has drawn plenty of attention from critics. His biggest rival isn't among them. “Sid's going to be fine,” said Washington left winger Alex Ovechkin following his team's practice at Southpointe Sunday. “He got sick [with mumps],” said Ovechkin, ... Read More and Comment
Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 8:37 am by Doug Oster
italian-lunch-was-the-best-ever  Eros Buratti with tour guide Anna Maria Massimi in his meat and cheese shop in Verbania, Italy. Photos by Doug Oster By Doug Oster / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette VERBANIA, Italy — Serendipity and a chance encounter on my recent trip to this Mediterranean country led me to the very best lunch I’ve ever eaten — anywhere. It began back in September ... Read More and Comment
Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 10:11 am by Seth Rorabaugh
empty-netter-assists-12-28-14Penguins -The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel pretty good. A little better than most games.” - Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (above, battling Sidney Crosby) on beating his former team. -The Washington Post's recap. "A lot of guys I respect on their team and am pretty good friends with that I ... Read More and Comment
Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 12:49 am by Seth Rorabaugh
capitals-at-penguins-12-27-14POSTGAME -First things first, there were no updates on the health of Patric Hornqvist or Kris Letang. Hornqvist left the game after the first period and Letang left with approximately 2:30 remaining regulation. The Penguins have a practice tomorrow and presumably, some update on them will be available then. -The Capitals beat the Penguins with ... Read More and Comment
Published on Saturday, 27 December 2014 3:11 pm by Seth Rorabaugh
don-t-expect-crosby-niskanen-ii-12-27-14  Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen will play his first game against the Penguins since leaving Pittsburgh as a free agent this past offseason. The previous time he played the Penguins came as a member of the Dallas Stars. In a 5-2 home win for Dallas Nov. 3, 2010, Niskanen fought Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. “After he gave me a whooping ... Read More and Comment
Published on Saturday, 27 December 2014 2:45 pm by Seth Rorabaugh
about-the-capitals-12-27-14A preview of the Capitals. When and where: 7:30 p.m, EST, Consol Energy Center. TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), NBC Sports Network (rest of the United States), SportsNet. Record: 17-11-6, 40 points. The Capitals are in fourth place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division. Leading Scorer: Center Nicklas Backstrom, 36 points (11 goals, ... Read More and Comment
Published on Sunday, 28 December 2014 12:00 am by Rob Rogers
patriotic-serviceDid you do your patriotic duty and go see "The Interview" in theaters? Kim Jong Un was not happy about the movie's release. He called Obama a monkey. So, it would seem Kim's not just a cruel despot, he's a racist cruel despot.  Read More and Comment
Published on Saturday, 27 December 2014 7:33 am by Sam Werner
a-few-notes-from-narduzzi-s-first-press-conference There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Pat Narduzzi is officially the next Pitt football coach. Here's a link to my story from today's Post-Gazette, and here's my colleague Ron Cook on Narduzzi's first impressions. Here are a few extra notes that didn't make it into the paper... - A big theme in Narduzzi's introduction was his background in ... Read More and Comment
Published on Saturday, 27 December 2014 5:14 am by Doug Oster
taking-chances-in-the-garden-pays-off-sometimes Fall is when gardeners can take a leap of faith by planting cold weather crops, betting the winter won't be as harsh as the year before. Some seasons the decision looks like genius, others more like foolishness. This winter, late planters look brilliant. Tiny yellow violas are luminescent in the late afternoon sun. They are planted along the edges ... Read More and Comment
Published on Saturday, 27 December 2014 2:38 am by Seth Rorabaugh
empty-netter-assists-12-27-14Penguins -The first time Brooks Orpik (right) played for the Penguins back in 2002, he didn't even get his own jersey. Tonight, he'll be wearing a completely different jersey with the rival Washington Capitals. -Teammate Matt Niskanen and assistant coach Todd Reirden will also have something of a homecoming tonight. -Steve Downie and Thomas Greiss ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 3:58 pm by Elizabeth Bloom
liner-notes-vol-xiiiLooking for some reading this holiday weekend? Check out a few pieces of music and arts journalism below, including a feature in the Atlantic on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust:  From the New York Times, a watery piano recital http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/arts/music/hlne-grimaud-performs-tears-become-streams-become.html  From the ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 12:33 pm by Natalie Bencivenga
setting-the-seen-new-year-s-eve-specialRing in the New Year with a sneak preview of the Pittsburgh Opera's New Year's Eve Gala and Concert: As Time Goes By! Big shout-out to Boutique la Passerelle and Anna Ciaccio for styling us! Follow @NBSeen on Twitter and on Instagram @NatalieBenci to keep up with #wheresNataliePG Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 12:29 pm by
perry-on-politics-the-problem-with-the-interview Dennis Lavalle holds a ticket and a poster of the film "The Interview" starring actors Seth Rogen and James Franco as he attends the Christmas Day screening of "The Interview" in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles, California, Dec. 25, 2014. (Associated Press photo)By James M. Perry"The Interview" is a second-rate comedy about the...Read ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 10:17 am by Doug Oster
north-hills-community-outreach-needs-seeds-to-help-the-hungry These heirloom bean seeds would be a perfect gift to help the hungry. Photo by Doug Oster The North Hills Community Outreach grows vegetables providing food for three food pantries and could use your help. Donations of organic seeds are now being collected for their Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden. Lettuce, spinach, bush beans, carrots, cabbage ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 8:27 am by Doug Oster
double-amaryllis-is-stunning-how-to-make-them-bloom-again 'Sweet Nymph' amaryllis is the perfect cure for the winter blues. Photo by Doug Oster The frilly pink blossoms of 'Sweet Nymph' amaryllis light up the living room from the windowsill. I was sent three bulbs to try from Longfield Gardens. The first to bloom is 'Sweet Nymph,' the other two amaryllis bulbs are 'Cherry Nymph' and 'White Nymph,' ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 4:05 am by Seth Rorabaugh
empty-netter-assists-12-26-14Penguins -The Penguins and the rest of the NHL are on Christmas vacation. -Happy 77th birthday to former Penguins forward and coach Gene Ubriaco. Acquired from Hershey of the AHL in the 1967 offseason in exchange for Jeannot Gilbert, Ubriaco, the first player in franchise history to wear No. 11, spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins as a ... Read More and Comment
Published on Thursday, 25 December 2014 8:51 am by Sharon Eberson
the-interview-filmmakers-get-their-wish-it-s-being-seen-even-by-meI was personally offended by the movie I saw on Christmas Eve. It took aim at broadcast journalists who are depicted as either being stuck in ivory towers or idiots. Nah, not really. I'm not easily offended. For my $5.99 at www.seetheinterview.com and the twinge of nervousness spending it, I got the gross, irreverent "The Interview," which like ... Read More and Comment
Published on Thursday, 25 December 2014 4:15 am by Seth Rorabaugh
empty-netter-assists-12-25-14Penguins -Who are the Penguins' top 10 prospects? -From Jaromir Jagr to Dominik Uher. The Penguins have had at least one Czech on the roster since 1990-91. -Happy 44th birthday to former Penguins forward Stu Barnes (right). Acquired early in the 1996-97 season along with Jason Woolley in a trade which sent Chris Wells to the Panthers, Barnes spent ... Read More and Comment
Published on Friday, 26 December 2014 12:00 am by Rob Rogers
sweater-returnDo we really need another Rick Santorum presidential run? No we don't.  Read More and Comment
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'Sid's going to be fine' - 12-28-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

With one goal in his past 12 games, Penguins center Sidney Crosby's lack of offensive production has drawn plenty of attention from critics.

His biggest rival isn't among them.

“Sid's going to be fine,” said Washington left winger Alex Ovechkin following his team's practice at Southpointe Sunday.

“He got sick [with mumps],” said Ovechkin, a four-time winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer. “It's tough to bounce back right away. He's one of the best players in the league. Teams give too much attention when he's on the ice. Sometimes you think it's easy but it's not. You play against the best [defensemen], you play against the best defensive forwards. You have to do your job and they do their job. It's hard.”

For Crosby, the only change he feels he needs to make lies in his results and not approach.

“Just burying it,” Crosby said. “Nothing specific. I've had some pretty good looks. A handful of breakaways. A few empty nets too. Just burying those chances. I don't think it's anything with the velocity or location necessarily. I think it's just finishing the play.”

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

 

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Empty Netter Assists - 12-28-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel pretty good. A little better than most games.” - Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (above, battling Sidney Crosby) on beating his former team.

-The Washington Post's recap. "A lot of guys I respect on their team and am pretty good friends with that I don’t talk to much anymore, so it feels good to beat them, that’s for sure.” - Capitals defenseman and former Penguin Matt Niskanen.

-The Associated Press' recap. "I think everybody in the room wanted to get the game for [Orpik] and [Niskanen], but also [assistant coach Todd Reirden]." - Capitals coach Todd Reirden.

-Highlights (so to speak):

-The Penguins had a video tribute for Orpik last night:

-Washington's Braden Holtby was thirsty:

-Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was doing his thing on the bench:

-Crosby speaks:

-Brandon Sutter speaks:

-Welcome back Robert Bortuzzo and Brandon Sutter to the lineup.

-Welcome back Jayson Megna and Jeff Zatkoff to the NHL roster.

-“After he gave me a whooping the last time, I probably wont' fight him again.” Capitals defenseman and former Penguin Matt Niskanen on Sidney Crosby. Before last night, the previous time Niskanen played the Penguins saw him fight Crosby in 2010.

-What advice does Crosby have for would-be No. 1 overall draft pick Connor McDavid?

-Matt Murray made 27 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who were shut out by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-0.

-Highlights (so to speak):

-Patrick McGrath, a native of Shavertown, Pa., became the first local player to suit up for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

-Franky Palazzese made 34 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-1 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays.

-After the Jump: The Devils get some new coaches. Yes, plural. Coaches.

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Capitals at Penguins - 12-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

POSTGAME

-First things first, there were no updates on the health of Patric Hornqvist or Kris Letang. Hornqvist left the game after the first period and Letang left with approximately 2:30 remaining regulation. The Penguins have a practice tomorrow and presumably, some update on them will be available then.

-The Capitals beat the Penguins with defense.

...

-We'll repeat that. The Capitals beat the Penguins with defense.

-The Penguins weren't the only part of this rivalry to undergo a shift in philosophy this past offseason. The Capitals did that in a big way as well with the hire of Barry Trotz, a coach who stresses defensive discipline. While the results over the course of this season have been a mixed bag, tonight's game was a pretty stark departure from what we usually see with Penguins-Capitals games. Yeah, there were a few odd-man rushes here or there but there just wasn't a flat-out display of speed by either team. Each team seemed to wait for the other to make mistakes and strike. Fortunately for the Capitals, the Penguins made more mistakes and as a result, Washington won 3-0.

-The obvious story line of this game is the return of Brooks Orpik and to a lesser extent Matt Niskanen. Orpik was really good. Teamed with John Carlson, he saw plenty of shifts against the Penguins' top two lines and really laid the body on anyone in a black jersey. Additionally, Orpik recorded an assist and had a role in the Capitals' third goal as well. He was on the ice for all three of his team's goals tonight.

-Some oafs blurted out some derogatory comments at Orpik during the national anthem. THe basic message was that Orpik [stinks]. Tonight, nothing could be further from the case.

-Niskanen was a little less notable int his game but he played a pretty responsible game overall while teamed with Karl Alzner.

-The Penguins were bad. Just bad. They had several chances but someone would either force a bad pass or a stick would break or something just snuffed out whatever hopes they had at scoring a goal.

-Sidney Crosby was a big part of those missed chances. He had a stick break on a clean look on net during a power play but he also had some poor decisions such as a forced pass to Andrew Ebbett on a short-handed two-on-one which Mike Green broke up. This isn't a new problem with Crosby. It's been lingering for at least a month now. The Penguins need and deserve better from their captain.

-Crosby was primarily responsible for Washington's second goal. With Despres in deep, Crosby retreated to the poitn to play defense. As Johansson carried the puck through the neutral zone, Crosby basically overpersued it and took a terrible angle at Johansson. Johansson made one move by Crosby and walked in on a two-on-one to score.

-Having Hornqvist leave the game didn't help matters obviously. After playing a pretty strong game Tuesday against the Lightning, he seemed engaged in the physical tone of the first period before leaving.

-Derrick Pouliot had such an up and down game. There were times where he just looked like he was in complete control. Early in the first period, he was able to break up a three-on-one by getting a leg on a pass by Alex Ovechkin. But other times, he was too confident and made some poor passes.

-Mike Johnston was frank with his comments on Pouliot after the game:

“I thought Derrick was light on the puck tonight. He's got to be harder on the puck. He's got to be harder on one-on-one battles. And that's an education thing for a young defensman. I thought he made some very good plays which he normally does but he has to be a lot heavier on the puck, a lot heavier in one-on-battles.”

-Oof.

-The Penguins actually had a half-way decent third line on paper between Nick Spaling, Marcel Goc and Jayson Megna at the start of the game but it offered little. And Megna was promoted to the second line in the absence of Hornqvist. He did little with that chance either.

-Robert Bortuzzo looked okay in his first game back. Whatever limitations he had due to his "upper-body" injury which sidelined him for a few games were not evident. He was very engaged physically and seemed eager to jump into the play.

-Bryan Rust played primarily on the first line with Crosby and Chris Kunitz. He looked very confident but we're not sure we saw lot of chemistry there. He skated around with the puck a lot but didn't seem to find ways to get it to Crosby or Kunitz. There's definitely a part of Rust's game which should keep him in the NHL but we're just not sure he's a true first liner.

-Scott Harrington did not have a good night. On the ice for all three goals, he struggled. In fairness, two of the goals, the first by Eric Fehr and the second by Johansson, were kind of bad luck plays but Harrington will not want to watch the video of this game.

-Brandon Sutter had a rough game physically. He took a high hit from Washington's Tom Wilson which staggered him in the first period and in the second period, he was tripped up while driving to the net at high speed and cracked his right arm or elbow off a goal post. He probably needed a few ice bags tonight.

-The Penguins' power play continues to struggle. Losing Hornqvist didn't help but they had enough components still in the lineup that they should have posed more of a danger than they did tonight. The Capitals had far too easy of a time on the penalty kill.

-The Capitals did a great job of tying things up in the neutral zone. The Penguins looked like they were running through a thorn jagger bush in the neutral zone.

-Washington's third line of Joel Ward, Jason Chimera and Brooks Laich were a big part of that.

-Crosby wasn't alone in odd decisions with the puck. At one point, Alex Ovechkin forced a pass to Jay Beagle on a two-on-one.

-While the Penguins were hardly a major challenge tonight, don't dismiss Braden Holtby. He was tuned in. The puck looked like a beach ball to him.

-One thing to keep in mind above all else; Even with the returns of Brandon Sutter and Robert Bortuzzo, the Penguins still had 11 players out of the lineup while the Capitals only had three. This is not the best lineup the Penguins have ever dressed.

-Some quotes:

Brooks Orpik
On the video tribute and fans offering an ovation:

 

“Yeah, it was awesome. I didn't know what to expect to be honest with you. I thought about it this afternooon. Hoping it was 50/50 [cheers to boos]. It definitely was on my mind. It was pretty cool. The fans were nothing but good to me when I was here. It was an awesome moment.

On the Penguins' offensive struggles:

I thought our forwards did a really good job in the neutral zone. If you let those guys [the Penguins] get speed through the neutral zone, that's where they kill you. I thought especially Eric Fehr, Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, that line did a really good job on them. I don't know. Maybe Sid was was hopefully little bit heavy after the three days [for holiday break] the way he eats. Maybe that slowed him down a little bit. I thought it was a team effort. It wasn't one guy shutting those guys down.

Did it take a shift or two to treat this like a normal game and not your first game back in Pittsburgh:

"I was a little bit nervous the first couple. I've played in some big games before but haven't been that nervous to be honest with you. But that went away pretty quick. Just tried to get a few in pretty quick and calm the nerves a little bit."

Was this game more significant due to your history with the team or just because it was two points in the standings:

"A little bit of both. I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel pretty good, a little better than most games. But we lost a tight one to the Rangers [Tuesday] who we've been flip-flopping with right before the [holiday] break. We didn't want to lose two in a row, especially within the division. We knew they were missing a couple of guys so it was a good opportunity for us to kind of jump on them."

Did you sense Crosby or Evgeni Malkin getting frustrated:

"They were shut out so I think naturally they would be a little frustrated but I thought we did a really good job team-wise on those guys, especially just trying to neutralize their speed in the neutral zone. It doesn't happen often with those guys. Those guys, even when you play well against them, they still find opportunities. When they did, Holtby made some big saves for us too."

How were you able to shut down their power play?

“Just try to stay tight in the box there. We know they like to go across the box. A lot of seam passes. We didn't want to allow that. We were going to give them strong-side shots if we could. Let Holtby see them. You take too many penalties, that's dangerous against that power play. That's something we talked about. The best way to kill those is stay out of the box. Not take many. I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part discipline-wise."

---

Niskanen
On playing his former teammates:

"Once the game started, I was pretty comfortable but there were moments it felt awkward for sure, just seeing guys you played with for sure."

On Crosby:

"Certainly, you want to try to neutralize him. He might have been frustrated at his sticks too. I think he broke a couple. But if you want to beat them, you have to neutralize him as best you can. Sid had a breakaway. [Malkin] had a few looks around the net in tight. He certainly could have generated something there. It felt like they were dangerous a few times. You feel like they're lurking. But a pretty good team effort by us. Just team defense clogging things up and being in front of them all night."

Was this game more significant due to your history with the team or just because it was two points in the standings:

"Selfishly, I certainty wanted to win the game. It was a nice win. But more importantly, if we want to get to where we want to be, which is in the playoffs and higher in the playoff standings, we need these type of games. It was a good team effort by everybody. [Holty] was pretty sharp when he needed to be. If we want to keep moving forward, we've got to beat teams ahead of us. “

---

Holbty
On the significance of the game due to Orpik and Niskanen:

That was one we definitely wanted to win for them. [We] took a penalty tonight. You could tell other guys wanted to bear down a little harder because we wanted to make sure we killed it because we that win for a guy [Orpik] that does … he's played so long here. I'm sure it meant a lot to him.

-The Capitals led in shots on net, 34-31.

-The Capitals led in attempted shots, 63-53.

-Ovechkin led the game with 10 shots.

-Rush and Malkin each led the Penguins with four shots.

-Carlson led the game with 24:37.

-Letang led the game with 23:56 of ice time.

-The Capitals had a 32-29 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Nicklas Backstrom was 12 for 18 (67 percent).

-Goc was 9 for 16 (56 percent).

-Carlson led the game with five blocked shots.

-Bortuzzo and Simon Despres led the Penguins with four shots.

-This was the Capitals' first shutout of the Penguins since a 1-0 home win, Jan. 11, 2012. Vokoun made 30 saves.

-Fehr had his second two-goal game against the Penguins. His other one took part in the rain at Heinz Field during the 2011 Winter Classic, Jan. 1, 2011.

-If the Penguins had the equivalent of an indoor/outdoor porch for a rink, he'd probably cash in there as well.

-Some sights. The ice:

-Fans entering the barn:

-This is the first Thomas Greiss jersey we've seen this season:

-This is hardcore. A Connor James Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Christmas jersey:

-We always seem to run into a Craig Adams fan:

-The always rare Tanner Glass No. 10:

-Evgeni Malkin Magnitogorsk Metallurg:

-There are quite a few Capitals fans on hand. Mike Green:

-Nicklas Backstrom:

-Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby:

-Former Penguins/Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun:

-Former Penguins/Capitals defenseman Sergei Gonchar:

-Niskanen:

-Jersey of the Night: Orpik:

-Warmups:

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights (so to speak):

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Don't expect Crosby-Niskanen II - 12-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen will play his first game against the Penguins since leaving Pittsburgh as a free agent this past offseason. The previous time he played the Penguins came as a member of the Dallas Stars. In a 5-2 home win for Dallas Nov. 3, 2010, Niskanen fought Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

“After he gave me a whooping the last time,” said Niskanen, “I probably wont' fight him again.”

Pugilistic skills noted, Niskanen, who spoke with local media following today's morning skate, was more wary of Crosby other abilities.

“He presents a lot of challenges that a lot of guys don't just because of how smart he is and his vision,” Niskanen said. “He's got all the physical tools obviously but just how smart he is and creative. Every teammate of his on the ice is dangerous when he has the puck because he can find guys and put it right in their wheelhouse. It makes everybody dangerous at all times. “

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

 

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About the Capitals - 12-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Capitals.

When and where: 7:30 p.m, EST, Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), NBC Sports Network (rest of the United States), SportsNet.

Record: 17-11-6, 40 points. The Capitals are in fourth place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.

Leading Scorer: Center Nicklas Backstrom, 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists).

Last Game: 4-3 road loss to the Rangers Tuesday. Defenseman John Carlson had for the Capitals.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-0 road loss March 11. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves for the Capitals.

Capitals Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Left winger Alex Ovechkin. In 35 career games against the Penguins, he has 41 points..

Ex-Penguins on the Capitals: Defensemen Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik (right) and assistant coach Todd Reirden.

Ex-Capitals on the Penguins: Assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

Useless Capitals Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Orpik and Niskanen are among eight players who have been NHL teammates with Ovechkin and Penguins center Sidney Crosby. The others are left wingers Chris Bourque, Matt Cooke, Rico Fata, goaltenders Brent Johnson, Tomas Vokoun and center Kris Beech.

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

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (19-4-3, 2.09 GAA, .929 SV%) for the Penguins. Braden Holtby (15-8-5, 2.30 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Capitals.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo ("upper body") is questionable. Right winger Steve Downie (mumps) and goaltender Thomas Greiss (mumps) are out. Right wingers Craig Adams (undisclosed), Beau Bennett (knee), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), defensemen, Christian Ehrhoff ("lower body"), Olli Maatta ("upper body"), Paul Martin (undisclosed), centers Zach Sill ("upper body"), Scott Wilson (leg) and left winger Blake Comeau (wrist) are on injured reserve. For the Capitals, defenseman John Erskine ("upper body"), Dmitry Orlov (broken wrist) and left winger Aaron Volpatti (neck) are on injured reserve..

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins' primary lines at today's morning skate were:

14 Chris Kunitz  - 87 Sidney Crosby - 36 Bryan Rust
 71 Evgeni Malkin - 16 Brandon Sutter - 72 Patric Hornqvist
13 Nick Spaling - 57 Marcel Goc - 59 Jayson Megna
20 Rob Klinkhammer - 25 Andrew Ebbett - 34 Bobby Farnham

Consider this a guess based off their defensive pairings at today's morning skate:

4 Rob Scuderi - 58 Kris Letang
8 Brian Dumoulin - 47 Simon Despres
6 Scott Harrington - 41 Roberto Bortuzzo

-The Capitals' lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

8 Alex Ovechkin - 19 Nicklas Backstrom - 43 Tom Wilson
90 Marcus Johansson - 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov - 20 Troy Brouwer
21 Brooks Laich - 16 Eric Fehr - 42 Joel Ward
46 Michael Latta - 65 Andre Burakovsky - 83 Jay Beagle

2 Matt Niskanen - 27 Karl Alzner
44 Brooks Orpik - 74 John Carlson
52 Mike Green - 38 Jack Hillen

Notes:

-Megna and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff were recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Center Brandon Sutter will play after being sidelined two games as a precaution against mumps.

-Bortuzzo was activated from injured reserve and as described as a game-time decision.

-Martin and Bennett each took part in the morning skate. Head coach Mike Johnston said they are "within a few steps of playing."

-Center Nick Spaling has 99 career points.

-Center Marcus Johansson has played in 300 career games.

-The referees are Ian Walsh (No. 29) and Frederick L'Ecuyer (No. 17). The linesmen are Brian Murphy (No. 93) and Derek Amell (No. 75).

-We will not have a live blog but will have a postgame blog.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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