Saturday, February 5, 2011

Game #54 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals



Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  February 2, 2011, 12:30 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 4-3-2-1
Caps Game 54 Record: 20-11-2-1
All-Time vs. PIT: 54-67-17-2
All-Time at home vs. PIT: 33-28-9-0
Last Season vs. PIT: 4-2-0
Last Meeting: 1/1/11, WAS 3 PIT 1
Season Series: 1-0-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 28-15-10
Standings Points: 66
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 2/4/11, WAS 5 TAM 2
Streak: Win 1

PIT Record: 34-15-4
Standings Points: 72
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 4th    
Last Game: 2/4/11, PIT 3 BUF 2
Streak: Won 5

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 83 BEAGLE
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 90 JOHANSSON, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH

Pittsburgh
Forward Line 1: 14 KUNITZ, 15 JEFFERY, 9 DUPUIS
Forward Line 2: 24 COOKE, 11 STAAL, 48 KENNEDY
Forward Line 3: 18 CONNER, 25 TALBOT, 17 RUPP
Forward Line 4: 26 TANGRADI, 27 ADAMS, 28 GODARD
Defense Pair 1: 7 MARTIN, 4 MICHALEK
Defense Pair 2: 3 GOLIGOSKI, 6 LOVEJOY
Defense Pair 3: 44 ORPIK, 58 LETANG
Goalie: 29 FLEURY
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 28 SEMIN (hip) DTD, 16 FEHR (upper body) DTD, 89 SLOAN (lower body) DTD

PIT – 87 CROSBY (concussion) IR, 71 MALKIN (knee) IR, 10 LETESTU (knee) IR, 45 ASHAM (upper body) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 6 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 5 assists to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

It’s been a month since the Winter Classic and these two teams are back at it again on Super Bowl Sunday. The Pens will be without Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeny Malkin who suffered a knee injury on Friday night. There has been a lot of speculation on whether David Steckel’s contact with Crosby in the Classic was incidental or not but the Pens believe it was so the guys better be prepared for everything at the beginning of this one. The Pens are coming in on a 5-game winning streak and the Caps are hoping to see another performance from Alex Ovechkin and Niclas Backstrom where each of them put 4 points on the SE division leaders. Expect an extremely physical game, especially in the first period and don’t rule out DJ king getting a jersey just for good measure. Against Tampa the Caps played a disciplined, controlled, full 60-minute effort. The team needs to put together more of these types of games and they will be a contender come playoff time. Be prepared for another exciting fast paced game between the two rivals and I think the Caps will build on Friday’s momentum to the victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 PIT 1




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