Gameday 54 – Capitals

12:30 pm
Verizon Center
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It's a big day for Pittsburgh sports.
For everyone who says the Capitals/Penguins rivalry isn't real, look inside yourself and think if you'd rather have a Pens win today than a win on Friday against Buffalo.

How about now?
Or maybe you're just hoping that no one else gets hurt.  
It's going to be red Ovechkin jerseys, air horns and crazy siren central in DC today.  Forget about whatever else is happening today and get your mind right.
Look at the standings right now:
The Caps are potential playoff opponents in the first round.
Sure, it's just a regular season game in February, but it would be really nice to win this one.

Know your enemy: RockTheRed.Net

The 2010-2011 Washington Capitals are a team that is trying it the hard way. After starting the season where the previous (regular) season left off, scoring goals in an exciting fashion, the Caps' coaches (seemingly inexplicably to some) changed things up. Offense-minded Thomas Fleischmann was moved for a defensive defenseman. The Caps, last season's goal scoring champions became a Trap Defense team. Unfortunately, the learning curve has proven to be fairly steep.

Season series: Series Tied 1-1.
Last meeting: January 1, 2011 – Capitals Won 3-1.

No one is discussing the weather and ice conditions unless they're trying to sell a newspaper, which is a good thing. Both teams played on the same surface, and the Pens lost. The final score was 3-1, a common score seen throughout the course of an NHL season. There were more goals scored in this game than in the December 23rd Pens/Caps game in Washington. If this was a 0-0 game and players were falling over themselves while taking shootout attempts, then we'd have something to talk about.

 Five-game winning streak for the Pens right now.
Six is better than five.
Penguins notes: Crosby, no Malkin, no Letestu Wallace has been called up.
Capitals notes:
Ovechkin has points in his last five games.
Line production the last 10 games: Penguins | Capitals
Favorite Capitals-related Photoshop or gif:
Our guess at the Penguins lines:

Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
Chris Kunitz – Dustin Jeffrey – Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi – Max Talbot – Chris Conner
Mike Rupp – Craig Adams – Tim Wallace

Brooks Orpik – Kris Letang
Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek
Alex GoligoskiDeryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Capitals Lines from Hockey Utopia:

Alexander OvechkinNicklas Backstrom – Mike Knuble
Brooks Laich – Mathieu Perreault – Jason Chimera
Matt Bradley – Boyd Gordon – David Steckel
Matt Hendricks – Marcus Johansson – Jay Beagle

Jeff Schultz – Mike Green
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Scott Hannan – John Erskine

Semyon Varlamov

Photoshop City:
YouTube City:


We were wondering if the Penguins might retaliate against David Steckel today,
but that would require them actually knowing who David Steckel is.
Without Crosby, without Malkin and without Letestu, the Pittsburgh Penguins will need to reach down and grind their way through this season.  They're already doing it.  They've won five in a row.  
Is it going to be tough to keep going without two of the best players in the game?  Of course it is.
But through all the doom and gloom we felt yesterday, we still have hope.
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
Do It.
Go Pens.