-Our normal assortment of pregame notes will have to bite the dust on account of us getting lost on the way to Washington this afternoon. We apologize. It's Penguins-Capitals. Someone's going to score a goal.
-We followed this truck all the way. Maybe that's why we got lost:
-We didnt' even get our normal pregame outdoor shot of the venue. Today was a complete mess. Here's the ice:
-A personal favorite, Sergei Fedorov:
-As always, there are plenty of Penguins fans. Pascal Dupuis and Paul Martin:
-A few invaders mingle with some of the natives:
-No. 57 was an jersey foul and he will not be discussed any further.
-Brooks Orpik with a Terrible Towel:
-Former Capitals captain and one of the last "no-helmet" players, Rod Langway:
-Hat of the Night: This Nicklas Backstrom fan had a Team Sevigre hat:
-There is a Russian flavor. Alex Ovechkin Dinamo Moscow:
-And Evgeni Malkin Mettalurg Magnitogorsk:
-Jersey of the Night: Because he's the one Miller Brother who didn't play for the Penguins, Kelly Miller:
-The Penguins appear to be starting tonight's game with the lines they started with against the Ducks Monday but we would fully expect those to change throughout the night.
-The Penguins' starters are Beau Bennett, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Matt D'Agsotini and Zach Sill.
-The Capitals' starters are Troy Brouwer, Martin Erat, Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Braden Holtby.
-Their scratches are Jay Beagle, Eric Fehr and Dmitry Orlov.
-The national anthem:
16:39: On a delayed penalty, Nate Schmidt booms a slapper from the center point. Fleury kicks it out. Alex Ovechkin is all over the rebound to he right of the cage. He hurries a shot through the slot and to the right circle.
16:36: Adams is nabbed for tripping Tyson Strachan. Brandon Sutter, Dupuis, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
16:31: Off a faceoff wing, Ovechkin can handle a pass cleanly, settles the puck and whips a wrister by Fleury's glove hand and off the far post.
16:16: The Capitals are fleeing Ovechkin with a ton of passes in the left cicle. He chosp quick onetimer whif Fleury rejects.
14:56: Short-handed, Sutter hustles up the right wing and chucks a wrister on net. Holtby kicks it out.
14:27: As the Adams minor expires, Crosby lugs the puck up the right and is greeted by boos.
14:10: Off a drop pass by Crosby, Kunitz snaps off a wrister from the right circle which Schmidt deflects out of play.
13:22: The Penguins strike first. Off a faceoff in by Crosby in the right c.e Martin take a pass in the right circle, moves a bit wards center point and chucks a wrister. Kunitz is in the slot on a screen and appears to get a piece of the puck which sails byt he glove hand of Holbtby on the near side. The always healthy showing of Penguins fans in this building offer a hearty cheer. Martin gets credit for the goal. Crosby gets the only assist. Penguins 1-0.
12:45: On with Malkin and Kunitz, Crosby tries to jam in a forehand shot from the right of the net. No dice.
10:59: Using Steve Olesky as a screen, Neal rips a wrister from the right circle. Holtby eats it up.
8:03: The Penguins double it up as Beau Bennett gets his first goal of the season. off a pass from Malkin outside the Washington blue line, Bennett takes the puck on a rush into the offensive zone, enters the right circle and snaps off a wrister which deflects off the stick Aaron Volpatti and sails by the blocker of Holtby on the far side. Bennett jumps into the right corner boards in celebration. He's joined by several thousand 412ers. Malkin and Niskanen get assists. Penguins 2-0.
7:13: The hole gets deeper for the Capitals as Olesky shoved Gibbons from behind near the Washington end boards. That's two minutes for cross checking. Kris Letang, Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz and Neal take the ice.
6:52: Off a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Ward lifts a wrister from a bad angle on the right wing. Fleury boots it out.
6:04: Things are evened up as Kuntis trips up Strachan in the left corner of the Washington zone. We'll have four on four for 51 seconds.
5:13: The Olesky minor is killed. The Capitals will have 1:09 of power-play time.
4:23: Backstrom tries to jam in a shot from the right of the cage an is slammed tin the net by Orpik. The net is dislodged and play is halted.
4:14: Ovechkin is denied in tight by Fleury.
4:04: The Penguins kill of Kunitz's penalty. The Captials only really generated a few chances in tight with that power play.
2:56: Off a give-and-go between Malkin and Neal, xxx chops a one-timer from the left wing. Holtby boots it out with a thud.
1:52: Trying to settle a puck in the neutral zone, Carlson is plowed over on a strong hit from behind by Orpik.
1:25: Another power play for the Penguins. Glass is nabbed for hooking Olesky. Sutter, Adams, take the ice. Rough time to take a penalty.
0:20: Troy Bouwer chops a one-timer from the slot. Dupuis darts at him and breaks it up while losing his stick in the process. Huge play by Dupuis.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Capitals 0.
-The thing that stood out to us the most that period was the skating. Both teams are going up and down the ice. It's necessarily translating into many shots on net for the Capitals, but it's entertaining.
-The only really minus for the Penguins was the penalties. The officials seem to calling this game tight. They need to adjust after having a really poorly officiated game Monday.
-Like Monday, the Penguins are getting bodies to the net. They're making things a little difficult for Holtby.
-Also like Monday, the Penguins' lines are all over the place.
-Per a heads-up reader, Martin appeared to be a little dinged up after blocking an Ovechkin shot late in the period and did not take the ice during Glass' penalty.
-We're still trying to get a feel for how Gibbons plays, but he's not afraid to go to the high traffic areas. He's not a banger and crasher by any means, but he's capable of darting into a tight space and getting to a puck while avoiding contact. He's similar to Steve Sullivan or Chris Conner in this regard.
-Fleury wasn't tested much, but he's been sharp thus far.
The Penguins lead in shots on net, 17-6.
-The Penguins lead in attempted shots, 26-16.
-Letang leads the game with four shots.
-Ovechkin and Backstrom each lead the Capitals with two shots.
-Letang leads the game with 9:08 of ice time.
-Carlson leads the Capitals with 8:18 of ice time.
-Faceoffs are tied, 9-9 (50 percent).
-Sutter is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Brouwer is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Dupuis and Schmidt each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Capitals will have 35 seconds of power play time on fresh ice. Martin, Orpik, Dupuis and Adams take the ice.
19:26: Just as the Glass minor is about to expire, Backstrom lifts a wrister from teh right circle. Fleury traps it against his chest.
18:56: A wrister by Carlson from the right point is deflected out of play.
17:32: Neal settles a loose puck in the slot and lifts a wrister over the cage.
16:49: Sutter chips a wrister from the right wing. Holtby eats it up.
15:43: Off a drop pass by Glass, Martin tees up a slapper from the right point. Holtby gloves it easily.
15:25: Off a turnover by Adams at his own blue line, Backstrom lifts a wrister from the left circle, Fleury eats it up. Adams owes Fleury a beer for that one.
14:30: Working with an acre of space o the right wing, Crosby lifts a wrister which hits the stick of Karl Alzner and deflects out of play.
14:23: Another power play for the Penguins as Erat is called for boarding Deryk Engelland. Crosby, Letang, Neal, Malkin and Kunitz take the ice.
13:35: After the Penguins fumble the puck in their own zone, Carlson puts a slapper on net. Fleury steers it away.
13:24: Battling for a puck in the Penguins' right wing corner, Malkin puts a hit on Chimera. Chimera responds by staggering Malkin with a shot of his own.
13:16: Taking a pass at the left point, Malkin booms a one-timer from the right point which Holtby fights off despite traffic.
12:48: Letang lifts a wrister from he right point. Holtby hops up to fight i off.
12:23: The Erat minor is killed with minimal threat from the Penguins. The Capitals put a few short-handed shots on net with that power play.
11:24: Hustling up the right wing, Sutter lifts a wrister on net. Holty fights it off.
10:45: The great Joe Vitale slinks his way up the right wing and puts a pass off the pads of Holtby the puck kicks out to the right circle. Crosby is all over it. Holtby challenges and fight off a wrister.
10:40: Maatta collects a puck at the right point and pumps a slapper on net. Holtby steers it away.
10:21: A wrister by Chimera in the slot is blocked by Maatta.
9:52: Brouwer has a backhander blocked by Martin.
6:36: Off some strong work down low, by Laich, Olesky sneaks up into the right circle and pokes a one-timer which is off the mark.
5:25: Racing for a loose puck int he right corner of the Penguins zone, Orpik plasters Carlson into the boards.
4:17: Sutter wires a wrister from the right point on net. Hotlby eats it up.
3:52: Michael Latta moves in off the right wing, undresses Maatta a bit and flings a backhander from the slot wide of the cage.
3:18: Digging a puck out of a scrum in the right corner, Kunitz tries to jam in a forehand shot low.
1:42: Off a drop pass by Carlson, Brouwer booms a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.
1:34: The Penguins get another power play as the Capitals are called for too many men on the ice. Tom Wilson will serve the minor.
1:19: Malkin booms slapper from center point which is blocked.
1:06: Shots in tight by Neal and Crosby are each rejected.
0:29: Some fancy passing leads to a third Penguins goal. Malkin controls the puck on the right wing, brings it down low in the right circle and deals a pass to Kunitz ion the inside of the left circle. Kunitz one-touches it to Neal to the right of the cage on goal line. Neal then deals his own one touch pass to Crosby low in the left circle. Crosby is able to kneel down and sneak a wrister by Holtby. What a passing play! Neal and Kunitz get assists. Mlakin deserves one for setting the play up. More cheers from those with 412-based motivations. Penguins 3-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Capitals 0.
-Things leveled a bit off that period as the Capitals controlled the puck a little bit more. That said, the Penguins still got a ton of shots on net and added a third goal.
-With fewer penalties, the Penguins were able to settle their line combinations a bit more. Their "normal/new" lines were on the ice for most of five-on-five play.
-Oprik has had a solid game. He's made a few nice, precision stick-on-puck plays and mixed in some good, old fashion meat and potato hitting.
-After an early push, Ovechkin has been bottled up most of the game.
-We would anticipate Jacques Martin being "unleashed" in the form of a left wing lock the rest of the game.
The Penguins have a 32-14 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 50-38 lead in attempted shots.
-Letang, Sutter and Backstrom each lead the game with five shots.
-Orpik leads the game with 17:40 of ice time.
-Carlson leads the Capitals with 16:19.
-Faceoffs are even, 20-20 (50 percent).
-Sutter is 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Mikhail Grabovski is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Martin leads the game with four blocked shots.
-Schmidt leads the Capitals with three blocked shots.
17:28: The great Joe Vitale hustle up the right wing and lifts a wrister on net. Holtby fights it off.
16:48: Off a defensive zone turnover by Letang, the Capitals have a chance int eh slot but can't connect on a clean pass.
16:10: A slapper by Martin from the right point hit something in front and hops over the cage.
13:24: The Penguins have really slowed this game down at this point. They aren't really allowing the Capitals to gain the offensive zone with any speed.
12:44: Game. Set. Match. Taking a pass fro Martin in the neutral zone, Neal gains the offensive zone at center point, criss-crosses with Dupuis who drivess to the net and lifts a wrister to the far side by the glove hand of Holtby. More cheers from 412erss. Fans in red head to the exits. Martin and Malkin get assists. Penguins 4-0.
9:41: After a few stagnant minutes, Malkin races up the right wing with the puck on his backhand, gains the offensive zone and flings a backhander on net. Holtby fights it off.
7:30: Play has really bogged down here. The Penguins are controlling the puck a lot and the Capitals seem re-signed to their fate.
5:40: During a commercial break, Stomping Tom Connors' "The Hockey Song" is played. At this point of this game, this is a notable happening:
3:15: Letang flings a wrister from the right wing on net. Holtby kicks it out.
1:59: Niskanen booms a one-timer from the right circle which Holtby kicks out.
1:00: As the public address announcer reminds there is one minute remaining, a hearty "LET'S GO PENS!" chant echos around an emptying Verizon Center.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Capitals 0.
-Have the Penguins played as complete of a game as that all season? We're struggling to recall if they have. Either way, the Penguins faced a few early power plays by the Capitals, got an early lead and pretty much dictated how they wanted to play the rest of the way. They have to very satisfied with tonight's victory against their chief competition in the division.
-If it wasn't obvious before tonight, Jacques Martin is an assistant coach on the Penguins. The way the Penguins put the clamps on the Capitals' top offensive stars and made life easy for Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin had heck of a game. They saw a ton of ice time against the Capitals' top line of Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson and limited their clean looks at the net. Orpik and Martin have their fingerprints all over this win.
-Unlike Monday against the Ducks, the Penguins' lines were pretty stable for the most part. Outside of the first period where they faced a few power plays, the Penguins' lines stayed the same for the most part. That was a byproduct of having an early lead as opposed to a scoreless game for most of Monday's contest.
-The Penguins special teams had a great night as well. They blanked all three man advantages for the Capitals, one of the best power plays in the NHL. The Penguins' power play cashed in with a highlight of a goal off the stick of Sidney Crosby. After the game, Beau Bennett quipped, "It was fun to watch. I was hoping they would show the replay but I guess they don’t show replays of our goals I guess. It will be fun to watch on the highlights I guess."
-Bennett got his first goal of the season and it was huge for him. Said Bennett, "It feels good to get that. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and that’s usually not how I play. That’s not how I am. But it was nice to finally get that one and get a win."
-Evgeni Malkin is becoming the Russian Joe Thornton. He's racking up a crazy amount of assists at the moment. He had two assists and played a key role in setting up the passing which led to Crosby's power play goal. A goal by Malkin would be nice but he's still carrying this offense.
-Kunitz had a really underrated role in his team's offensive attack tonight. He tried to jam in a ton of shots in tight. He had a role in Crosby's pretty goal and even screened Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on the eventual game-winning goal by Martin.
-Fleury has had tougher games. It would be a stretch to say he was tested. The Penguins really limited the Capitals' chances to shots from the perimeter. That allowed Fleury to kick out safe rebounds on the few shots he faced. He's been the most stable entity on this team this season.
-We're not sure what to say about the Capitals. It seemed like once the Penguins got up 3-0, the Capitals were resigned to their fate.
-Braden Holtby wasn't awful. He did let a few iffy goals in. But he played better than a 4-0 score would indicate.
-What The Penguins led in shots on net, 40-18.
-The Penguins had a 60-46 lead in attempted shots.
-Kris Letang, who played another stable game, led the game with six shots.
-Nicklas Backstrom led the Capitals with five shots.
-Orpik led the game in ice time with 24:11.
-John Carlson led the Capitals with 22:55.
-The Capitals had a 32-30 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Brooks Laich was 9 for 16 (56 percent).
-Brandon Sutter was 9 for 18 (50 percent).
-Martin led the game with six blocked shots.
-Joel Ward and Nate Schmidt each led the Capitals with three blocked shots.
-Fleury recorded his 25th career shutout. He became the 69th goaltender to reach 25 shutouts in his career.
-The Penguins last shutout of the Capitals came in a 2-0 victory at the Mellon Arena, Feb. 3, 2007. Ronald Petrovicky and Jordan Staal had goal.