Monday, February 21, 2011

Game #61 Preview: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins



Where: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

When:  February 21, 2011, 7:30 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 5-6-2-1
Caps Game 61 Record: 14-14-4-2
All-Time vs. PIT: 85-86-16-5
All-Time at PIT: 35-51-7-1
Last Season vs. PIT: 4-0-0
Last Meeting: 2/6/11, WAS 3 PIT 0
Season Series: 2-0-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 31-19-10
Standings Points: 72
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 2/20/11, WAS 2 BUF 1
Streak: Win 1

PIT Record: 36-19-5
Standings Points: 77
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 4th    
Last Game: 2/20/11, PIT 2 CHI 3 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 85 PERRAULT, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 23 HANNAN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3:89 SLOAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH

Pittsburgh
Forward Line 1: 12 STERLING, 11 STAAL, 23 CRAIG
Forward Line 2: 24 COOKE, 25 TALBOT, 9 DUPUIS
Forward Line 3: 18 CONNER, 27 ADAMS, 48 KENNEDY
Forward Line 4: 17 RUPP, 46 VITALE, 22 WALLACE
Defense Pair 1: 7 MARTIN, 4 MICHALEK
Defense Pair 2: 3 GOLIGOSKI, 5 ENGELLAND
Defense Pair 3: 44 ORPIK, 58 LETANG
Goalie: 29 FLEURY
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 16 FEHR (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (inner ear) DTD

PIT – CROSBY (concussion) IR, MALKIN (knee) IR, TANGRADI (concussion) IR, JEFFREY (upper body) IR, KUNITZ (lower body) IR, ASHAM (upper body) IR, LETESTU (lower body) IR, COMRIE (hip) IR, GRANT (wrist, neck) IR

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 assists to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

In the final game of the Capitals five game road trip the Capitals will take on the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens have been devastated by injury but continue to hold the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington is looking to come off of their road trip with a winning record after splitting the first four games. The Capitals appear to be coming around on the power play as they have connected in two consecutive games. This game should be a grinding physical affair with the Pens trying to slow the offense of the Capitals, which doesn’t have all that much pop recently, and keep the scoring chances to minimum. The Caps will need to exploit the experience gap between the two squads and they will need to connect with the man advantage. The Capitals have been playing a better all-around game lately but they still need work on their finishing. The team has allowed the opposition to dictate play in the final period and ended up on the losing end more times than is acceptable. I expect the Caps will push the offense early and try to break out in the first period. Look for a big game from Alex Ovechkin who is getting back on his normal scoring track.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 PIT 1

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