Monday, January 21, 2008

Pens/Caps Gameday

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday, January 21st, 2008, 7:30 PM
Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Last Meeting: 12/27/2007, Caps lose 4-3 in overtime

Two days after finishing their homestand 4-1 and working their way back to .500 for the first time since late October, the Capitals head to Pittsburgh to face their rival the (now Sidney Crosby-less) Pittsburgh Penguins, who are 8-1-1 in their last ten games.

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About the Opponent

Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-3, first in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference)

Team Leaders
Goals: Evgeni Malkin (24)
Assists: Sidney Crosby (43); active: Evgeni Malkin (29)
Sidney Crosby (63); active: Evgeni Malkin (53)
Sidney Crosby (+15); active: Colby Armstrong (+9)
Penalty Minutes:
tie - Ryan Malone and Georges Laraque (70)
Georges Laraque (8)

Betcha Didn't Know...
Several years ago The Hockey News took a poll of hockey journalists, asking them to rank the NHL's best fighters. Penguins enforcer (then with the Oilers) received more than twice as many points in the voting as anyone else, more points than the next five players and was ranked first on 31 of 42 ballots

Random Penguins Statistic
When he was 15 years old Sidney Crosby played prep school hockey at Shattuck St. Mary's, a boarding school in Faribault, Minnesota and amassed 72 goals and 90 assists (162 points) in 57 games.

Keys to the Game

Use your depth. The Penguins match up pretty well with the Capitals top guns and have the tools to contain Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. They do not have the tools to contain those three plus Viktor Kozlov, Mike Green and Tomas Fleischmann.

Use team speed to create chances. The Capitals could have better speed on their checking lines and on defense. The Penguins, with their large number of skilled skaters, should look to exploit that lack of mobility for goals and draw penalties to get their top-ten powerplay on the ice.

Players to Watch

Tomas Fleischman
- could he be playing any better or be any closer to breaking out without doing it? Any day now...

Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin - Malkin's been superb so far in his NHL career but can he play as well as Pittsburgh wants him to when (1) he doesn't have Sidney Crosby on his line and (2) he is the go-to guy?

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