-We encountered lots and lots of snow coming through the Allegheny Mountains today:
-There are a few friendlies here at the Verizon Center:
-The Capitals enter this game down two of their regular defensemen in John Erskine and Jack Hillen. Tom Poti, who has been recovering from a cronic groin problem, steps in. Hopefully for their sake, the Penguins can take advantage of a rusty Poti.
-Tomas Vokoun gets the start today. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to playing his former team. He seems like a pretty even-keeled guy so he should be able to put aside any emotion.
-The Penguins will get a chance to improve their power-play numbers against the Capitals penalty kill which is ranked 23rd in the NHL at 75.6 percent.
-Goaltender Braden Holtby comes into the game with some lousy numbers. He has a 1-2-0 record with 4.02 goals against average and .885 save percentage. The Penguins need to pounce on him.
-The Capitals need a win badly. It'll be interesting to see if they play desperate against a rival.
-Some sights around the building. A Scott Stevens fan:
-Why oh why does someone own a Sami Lepisto jersey?
-Plenty of Penguins fans down at ice level for warm ups:
-Jersey Foul of the Day: Saint Ray Lewis:
-Jersey of the Day: Given his history of playoff heroics in this city, Petr Nedved:
-The Penguins' starters are Zach Boychuk, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Paul Martin, Broosk Orpik and Tomas Vokoun
-Their scratches are Dustin Jeffrey, Ben Lovejoy and Eric Tangradi.
-The Capitals' starters are Alex Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro, Wojtek Wolski, Karl Alzner, Mike Green and Braden Holtby.
Their scratches are John Erskine, Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Perreault.
19:38: Neal and Ovechkin collide in the neutral zone.
17:45: Jason Chimera gets a little space on the left wing and whacks a slapper on net. It hits Vokoun in the lid. he doesn't see to be bothered by that..
17:33: From the left wing corner, Chimera one-touches a pass to the crease. Jay Beagle is there but cant' get a clean shot off as Brandon Sutter had his stick tied up.
16:39: Simon Despres plays a puck of his the right wing corne of his own zone and his run over by Ovechkin.
16:30: Crosby battles his way off the right wing boards of the offensive zone and attacks the net but is hit to the ice by Ovechkin. Ovechkin came to play today.
16:23: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, the Penguins strike. Crosby wins the draw from the right circle to Martin at the right point. Martin holds for a moment, snaps off a wrister which glances off something in fron to the crease and re-directs through Holtby's five hole. Penguins fans, as usually, fill the building with cheers. Kunitz get credit for the goal. Martin and Crosby get assists. Penguins 1-0.
15:35: Markus Johansson fights off a check from Martin in the slot and lifts a wrister on net. Vokoun says no.
15:25: Boychuk shows off his defenivse chops as he steals a puck off Green at the right point, hustles through the neutral zone, approaches the Capitals net and whacks a slapper on net. Holtby fights it off. Nice play by Boychuk
15:01: Letang launches Mike Green into the end boards near the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone with a rough hit from the goal line. Oof.
14:55: As Green is slow to recover to his skates, play slides to the right wing corner. Green eventual get to shis skates, moves to the left circle a. Wolski identifies him and slides a pass to Green who is wide open. Green hammer a one-timer which toasts Vokoun on the near side. What a fortunate sequence for the Capitals. Letang was out to lunch on that play. Wolski and Ribeiro get assists. Capitals 1, Penguins 1.
14:17: The great Joe Vitale lifts a wrister form the left circle. Holtby punches it away.
11:40: The Penguins get the lead back. From the left point, Robert Bortuzzo slides a point to point pass to Engelland on the right point. Engelland drops the hammer on a one-timer which sneaks through traffic and beats Holtby low. Cooke gets credit for the goal. Cooke looked like he was denying he touched it to the officials. Engelland Bortuzzo get assists. Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 2-1.
7:13: Ovechkin tries to challenge Martin and Orpik one-on-two but loses the puck on a stick on puck by Martin.
6:04: Engelland is deep on the right wing and shoots from the right circle. Alzner slides over an deflects the puck away with a stick on puck.
5:21: On a three-on-two, Henricks deals a pass from the left wing to Ovechkin the right circle. Ovechkin has his stick cocked for a one-timer but fans on the shot. He completely missed the puck.
2:57: Crosby takes a pass at the blue line , hustles his way by Carlson and attacks the net. Cosby shoots low and is denied by Holtby.
1:48: During some intense battles on the left wing wall of the Penguins' zone, Letang smacks Joey Crabb with a strong check into the boards. Things are getting physical here.
0:10: Beagle sneaks up he left wing and puts a heavy wrister on net to the far side. Vokoun kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Capitals 1.
-It's pretty easy to figure out what worked for the Penguins that period. They put pucks on net and had bodies in fron of Holtby. They weren't pretty goals but they count just as much on the scoreboard.
-Paul Martin's rebirth continues to be impressive. He looks like the player the Penguins hoped for when they signed him three years ago.
-Ovechkin is running around hitting anything in a white jersey. But his offensive game looks sloppy.
-Boychuk looked a million times more comfortable in this first period than yesterday's first period.
-The Capitals appear to be targeting Simon Despres with their forecheck presumably with the intent of forcing him into making mistakes.
-If you didn't know about Letang's underrated hitting ability, you do now.
-Shots are tied, 9-9.
-Boychuk, Wolski ad Backstrom each lead the game with two.
-Alzner leads the game with 8:55 of ice time.
-Martin is right behind him with 8:51.
-The Capitals are dominating faceoffs, 14-21 (67 percent).
-Ribeiro is 4 for 4 (100 percent).
-Crosby is 3 for 7 (43 percent).
-Engelland, Martin and Eric Fehr each lead the game with two blocked shots.
18:42: From the left wing, Boychuk floats a pass to Malkin in the right circle. Malkin leans down and cracks a one-timer which Holtby kicks out. Slick pass by Boychuk to set up Malkin.
17:51: Joel Ward chips a puck off the right wing boards to the Penguins' slot. Sutter is there defending and accidently directs it on his own net. Vokoun makes the "save."
15:57: Wow. Just wow. What happened there? Carlson chips a puck from the red line into the offensive zone for a line change. It hits off a stanchion in the right wing corner and takes a direct bounce to the cage. Vokoun is behind the net as he left the crease to play the puck presuming it would go behind the cage. With Vokoun out of place, the puck bounces directly into the twine. wow. What a fluky play. Backstrom get an assist. Capitals 2, Penguins 2.
15:45: Things just get worse fo rthe Penguins Boychuk is called for boarding. Bylsma protests the penalty vehemently. Dupuis, Adams, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
14:39: Green fires a shot form center point which is off the mark.
14:10: Backstrom controls the puck the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Martin slides over to him and simply takes it off Backstrom and plays it out of danger A nice calm, cool play by Martin.
13:45: The Boychuk minor is killed. The Penguins allowed little to the Capitals there.
13:13: A backhander by Boychuk is denied by Holtby.
13:04: Letang makes amends. Sutter controls the puck deep on the right wing and deals a pass to Letang in the left circle. Letang holds, holds, holds and waits for Ward to drop down on a block attempt. Letang then lifts a wrister which glances off the glove Holtby and trickles into the cage. Great paience by Letang. Nice pass b Sutter. Brutal glove hand on Holtby. Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 3-2.
12:27: The Penguins double their lead. Crosby takes a pass the blue line and races in on the left wing. He leave a drop pass for Kunitz who drops the hammer on a one-tmer. Holby appears to have the save but whiffs on the puck with his glove. Ouch. Brutal. He has to make that save. Crosby and Malkin get assists. Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 4-2.
12:08: Glass hammers Tomas Kundratek in the left wing corner of the Capitals' zone.
8:21: Kundratek chips a puck into the offensive zone form the neutral zone into the offensive zone and tries to skate by Despres. Despres stands him up but clips him high with his stick. Kundratek goes down in a heap. That's two minutes for high sticking. Crosby, Adams, Martin and Orpk take the ice.
7:08: Ovechkin whips a low heavy wrister on net form the left half wall. Vokoun kcisk it out.
6:50: The Capitals' power play comes ot an end as Wolski is nabbed fro tripping Maritn behind the Penguins' net. Martin just fell. That looked like an even-up penalty there. Four on four for 29 seconds.
6:21: The Despres minor expires. The Penguins will have 1:31 of power-play time.
6:00: Chris Kunitz on a tear. Malkin take a pass o the right wing gains the offensive zone, holds the puck in the right circle and snaps a cross ice pass to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz swipes the puck which flutters into the cage off the far post. That's his third goal in two days. Great patience by Malkin. Malkin and Neal get assists. Penguins 5, Capitals 2.
4:00: Martin has a point shot blocked by Wolski.
3:18: Engelland chops a slapper from the right point which hits Green in front.
3:07: Bortuzzo whacks a loose puck on net from the right point. Holtby eats it up.
1:18: Backstrom spins off a check from Opik and whips a wrister on net which is blocked by Martin.
0:47: Vokoun leans forward on a loose puck but misses it. Brouwer picks it up, wheels around the crease with an open net and fires a wrister which Orpik blocks with his stick. Big play. Vokoun owes Orpik a beer.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Capitals 2.
-What a rebound by the Penguins after Carlson's fluky goal. The fed off the penalty kill immediately after that goal and struck back for three goals.
-Not to be a kill joy, but they're not getting Braden Holtby at his best. He's been brutal at times.
-Defensively, the Penguins have taken away most of the Capitals' time and space. If not for a fluky bounce off the stanchion and Kris Letang being absent minded after his hit on Green, Vokoun has a shutout.
-The physcial play toned down that period.
-Kunitz? He's tuned in.
-Ovechkin was nearly invisible that period.
-Orpik and Martin have been tremendous today. They have limited the space the Capitals' forwards have been able to work with.
-When Jason Chimera has been the Capitals' best forward, that's bad.
-The Penguins lead in shots, 18-13.
-Boychuk and Letang each lead the game with three shots.
-Ovechkin, Wolski, Backstrom and Chimera each lead the Capitals with two shots.
-Orpik leads the game with 18:42 of ice time.
-Green leads the Capitals with 15:56.
-The Capitals have a 24-18 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Ribeiro is 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
18:50: Carlso takes a pass at the right point and pounds a slapper. Vokoun rejects it.
18:32: A wrister by Backstrom on the left wing is blocks bLetang.
18:20: Letang is working wiith Engelland.
17:52: The Capitals get a little life as Despres flips a puck out play from his own zone. That's delay of game. Adams, Martin, Orpik and Dupuis take the ice.
17:23: Green blasts a slapper from center point. It gets blocked and cleared down ice by Adams.
16:43: Ovechkin takes a pass on the left wing and jabs a shot over the cage.
16:27: The Capitals maintain offensive zone pressure and cash in. After Ovchkin makes a nice play keep the puck in at the Penguins' blue line, he deals a pass to Bouwer in the right circle. Brouwer whacks a shots net. Vokoun on the far side. The rebound rest on the other side of the crease were Ribeiro taps it in for the easy goal. The Capitals got dirty and got a goal. And they have some life. Brouwer and Ovechkin get assists. Penguins 5-3.
14:55: Kunitz rushes up the right wing and tries to jam in a backhander by Holtby. The rebound rattles around a bit. Crosby and Dupuis each have chances but Holtby eventually covers.
11:50: Orpik chips a wrister from the left point. It bounces in and hops of the net.
10:21: A slapper from the point by Bortuzzo is snagged by Holtby.
9:56: Despres only had two shifts this period.
8:22: Off a give and go play from the right wing, Ovechkin curls and drags the puck off his backhand by a sliding Martin and flips a shot on net. Vokoun denies it.
7:57: Ovechkin taks a pass on the right wing, races into the offensive zone, get a step on Orpik and tries to jam in a forehand shot. Vokoun holds it out.
6:56: Beagle has a chance on the backhand from the left of the cage but can't get a clean shot off.
6:18: Ward drops Bortuzzo behind the Penguins' net.
6:12: Big kill here as Bortuzzo is called for high sticking. Sutter, Martin, Orpik and Cooke take the ice. This is do or die for the Penguins.
5:53: Martin intercepts a pass in front of the Penguins crease and clears it down ice. Big play.
5:38: Brouwer takes a drop pass in the left circle and puts a wrister on net. Vokoun fights it off with his glove hand.
4:48: Brouwer hammers a one-timer on net from the right circle. Vokoun saves. Adams clears for a line change. Big, big save.
4:12: The Bortuzzo minor is killed. That was huge for the Penguins.
3:56: A backhander by Crosby from the left circle is blocked by Carlson.
3:10: Weird. With nearly three minutes left, the Penguins entire bench is standing. The Capitals bench is mostly sitting.
2:08: Carlson is in deep and re-directs a pass on net from the left wing on net. Vokoun holds it out.
1:32: Off a steal, Crosby has a chance in tght but is hauled down in front of the crease. Adams hits Carson in the corner a bit after the whistle. Ovechkin kind of jumps Adams. The Capitals get two minors. Carlson for hooking and Ovechking for roughing. The Penguins send out Neal, Malkin, Letang, Crosby and Kunitz.
0:21: Letang whacks a one-timer from the left circle. Holtby gloves it.
0:07: Crosby control the puck behind the cage and deals a pass to Kunitz in the right circle. Kunitz whacks a one-timer which beats Holtby on the glove side. The Capitals will still have a man in the box to finish the game. A few hats litter the ice. Kunitz gets the Penguins' first hat trick of the season. Crosby and Letang get assists. Penguins 6-3.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Capitals 3.
-This was a somewhat strange game. The Penguins kind of had their run of things in first and second period. They they seemed to get rattled in third period and allowed the Capitals to just send wave after wave of attack after them. If not for Tomas Vokoun, the Penguins could have blow this game.
-Defensively, the Penguins were strong for most of the game. They limited the Capitals' offensive chances for most of the contest (outside the third period) and really made Washington's stars like Alex Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro and Nicklas Backstrom a non-factor.
-Outside of some iffy moments for Simon Despres, the entire Penguins blue line had a strong game.
-Paul Martin was outstanding once again with some clean, subtle, safe plays out of his own zone to get the puck out of danger. Brook Orpik brought it physically. Robert Bortuzzo once against played a conservative, safe game. Kris Letang had one brain cramp but looked like the dominant and confident player who can cover every inch of the ice. Even Deryk Engelland had his moments.
-Remember two weeks ago when everyone was worried about Sidney Crosby not generating much offense? That was cute.
-The big success was the power play today. It generated two goals. The first one was the one to get really excited about. The Penguins established their structure, took advantage of a broken stick by Karl Alzner and saw Evgeni Malkin fling a beauty of a pass to Chris Kunitz who struck in a one-timer. The second power-play goal came on a five-on-three late and wasn't a great challenge, but it can only help build confidence.
-If this is how Chris Kunitz plays with a cold, someone needs to inject him with the plauge. Four goals in two days?
-The Zach Boychuk experiment continued to show some progress. He seemed a million times more comfortable with Malkin and James Neal. He created a little havoc for the Capitals' defense with his pure and simple speed and even put a few shots on net. He's making progress.
-What do you say about Vokoun? It sounds odd to say after he allowed three goals, but he was pretty close to getting another shut out. He was the Penguins' MVP today after his effort in the third period.
-Speaking of which, what happened in that period? Why did the Penguins go into a rut for that 20 minutes? Washington just bombarded them with rushes into the offensive zone that period. That was the lone wort on this game for the Penguins.
-Ovechkin had an up and down game. He made his presence known with some hits in the first period, went invisible in the second period then turned it on offensively in the third period. A very inconsistent game for him.
-Braden Holtby was awful this game. Just awful. After the Capitals gained a little momentum with the fluky goal by John Carlson, the goals he allowed to Letang and Kunitz shortly after that were back breakers.
-The Penguins had a 26-24 edge in shots.
-Letang and Carlson each led the game with four.
-Martin led the game with 27:41 of ice time.
-Mike Green led the Capitals with 25:18.
-The Capitals had a 37-34 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Jay Beagle was 8 for 13 (62 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale was 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Martin and Bortuzzo led the game with four blocked shots each.
-Carlson led the Capitals with three.
-Kunitz recorded his third career hat trick and second with the Penguins.
-It was the 197th hat trick in franchise history. Three more to 200.
-It was the Penguins' first regular season hat trick since Martin Straka got three goals in a 5-3 road win, Jan. 8, 2001.
-Kunitz (169 points) passed up Troy Loney (169), Moe Mantha (168) and Doug Bodger (167) for 46th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Kunitz (74) has more goals than Loney (69).
-Cooke (131) moved past Al McDonough (130) for 64th place.
-James Neal (93) moved past Bob Woytowich (93) for 91st place. Neal (46) has more goals than Woytowich (22).