Thursday, December 23, 2010

Game #37 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals



Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  December 23, 2010 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 13-6-4-0
Caps Game 37 Record: 13-15-6-1
All-Time vs. PIT: 83-86-16-4
All-Time at home vs. PIT: 49-35-9-3
Last Season vs. PIT: 4-0-0
Last Meeting: 5/6/10, WAS 6 PIT 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 20-12-4
Standings Points: 44
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 12/21/10, WAS 5 NJ 1
Streak: Win 2

PIT Record: 23-10-2
Standings Points: 48
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 4th    
Last Game: 12/22/10, PIT 5 FLA 2
Streak: Win 2

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 90 JOHANSSON, 63 GORDON
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 39 STECKEL, 83 BEAGLE
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Pittsburgh
Forward Line 1: 14 KUNITZ, 87 CROSBY, 9 DUPUIS
Forward Line 2: 25 TALBOT, 71 MALKIN, 24 COOKE
Forward Line 3: 18 CONNER, 10 LETESTU, 48 KENNEDY
Forward Line 4: 17 RUPP, 27 ADAMS, 45 ASHAM
Defense Pair 1: ORPIK, 58 LETANG
Defense Pair 2: 7 MARTIN, 4 MICHALEK
Defense Pair 3: 3 GOLIGOSKI, 5 ENGELLAND
Goalie: 29 FLEURY
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Injuries:
Washington – 55 SCHULTZ (broken thumb) IR, 89 SLOAN (hip flexor) IR, 15 GORDON (lower body) IR, 17 KING (undisclosed) IR, 16 FEHR (personal reasons) DTD, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR

PIT – COMRIE (lower body) IR, GRANT (wrist, neck) IR, STAAL (foot< hand) IR

Caps Milestones:
Mike Knuble needs 3 points to reach 500 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 8 points to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

After a win over the lowly Devils, the Capitals play host to the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be a huge test for this Caps team that just came out of a tough losing streak and will look to record their third consecutive win. In the last game, Washington was hit once again by the injury bug when Matt Bradley sustained a broken finger and will be out for at least a few weeks. It will be interesting if Head Coach Bruce Boudreau will employ his line matching strategy against the number one line of the Penguins as he did to great effect against the Ducks big line a week ago. For the Caps, they are going to need another big night from their grinding forwards. The big guns for Washington have been silent for most of December and need to get back to crashing the net for goals. I expect both teams to be fired up and it should be an incredibly fast paced game with the Capitals pulling the upset.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 PIT 3



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