Pregame #80: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals (52-15-12) at Pennsyltucky Pengirls (45-26-7)
Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsyltucky
Time: 7:30 pm
TV: Versus
Radio: 1500AM                               
Previous Meetings:
Jan 21, 2010   WSH@PIT   WSH, 6 – 3
Feb 7, 2010    WSHvPIT     WSH, 5 – 4 OT
Mar 24, 2010  WSHvPIT     WSH 4 – 3 SO
Remaining Meetings:


Here we go, another round of an Eastern Conference Playoff showdown teaser.  This time the boys trade in their home reds for their white as they enter enemy territory to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fourth and final regular season meeting. The Caps own the series 3-0 so far, but we all know win or lose- it doesn’t mean squat. It’s just another chance to practice against what could be one of our toughest playoff opponents, a notion that works both ways.

The media induced rivalry sets up #8 against #87, but this time the pens squad has Evgeni Malkin and Bill Guerin back from injury. And don’t forget the Pens are coming of a few days of rest after their OT win against the Thrashers on Saturday. Caps on the other hand are coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Bruins at the VC last night.

Expect extra time. Through the course of the season the games got longer and more exciting. First the 6-3 win, then the 5-4 overtime, and then a 4-3 shootout, which was sealed by none other than the Penguin Killer himself Grandpa Mike Knuble. If the trend continues we could be looking at a game going 10+ rounds in a shootout. Okay, not so likely but it would still be pretty sweet.

Big Question: After being dominant in the first two games (and quiet in the third), will Alex Ovechkin be silenced in the final regular season meeting? The other big question is whether Sidney Crosby will be just as quiet.

Wes’s Keys to the Game – Discipline and Defense:

The Caps have giving the Pens 15 power play opportunities; the penalty kill has been stout only allowing 2 goals for a uncharacteristically high PK of 86%. On the other side of the redline, the Caps have only received 7 power plays, but have been able to net the puck 3 times for a PP of 42%. With Malkin and Billy G back for the Pens it will be imperative to stay out of the “sin bin”. The key to the game will be capitalizing on all our power play chances while minimizing the stupid penalties that plague the team. You listing to me, Alex Semin?!?!?

In the three games the Pens have about shot us 115 to out 100, luckily we have managed to out score them 14-10. The Pens are notoriously good at blocked shot and taking away lanes. This is something the Caps need to limit the scoring chances. If the D can keep the Pens shots at bay, whichever ‘tender dresses tonight will certainly be able to handle the rest.

Know your Enemy: The Pensblog