Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Three Cups versus No Cups...You Decide?

By: MF, 

Are you ready for another night of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey? I know I am and this one is going to be a hard one. The Penguins are in Washington to take on the Capitals and these games always prove to be physical ones. The team is coming off a 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets last night at Consol Energy Center. They were without the services of, their top two stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. However, Kris Letang and Patric Hornqvist were in the lineup and made their presence known. Letang recorded five assists (an assist on every Penguin goal) and recorded his 200th career assist on the Penguins first goal. Also, Letang became the first defensman in the National Hockey League (NHL), this season. In addition, he became the first Penguins defensman to notch five points in one game, since Sergei Gonchar on December 13, 2006 against the Philadelphia Flyers. While Hornqvist was getting involved whenever he could and even scored a goal. Now it's time to take on the Capitals.

Moving on from last night's game, the Penguins are headed into enemy territory at the Verizon Center. They come into the arena with a 44% power play percentage (four for nine) during their three game win streak at the Capitals home. Marc-Andre Fleury will start in the goal tonight and he comes into this game with six wins in the last seven against the Capitals. The Penguins will also have the services of David Perron. Perron points per month continued to increase and he has been on fire, since coming to Pittsburgh. He is a skilled player and plays with a lot of passion. During the Jets' game, he came out flying and didn't let up. He has become a great addition to the team.

This game is going to physical, a typical Penguin and Capitals game, and that will call on the enforcers from both teams. One of those guys is Steve Downie. Downie came off a season high seven hits during last night's game against the Jets. Also, he has two goals in two games. These goals, in back-to-back games is the first time for him, since February 24-25, 2012. The Penguins are getting him to produce and not just on the penalty minute sheet. Another guy is the newly acquired Maxim Lapierre. Lapierre was acquired from the St.Louis Blues in exchange for Marcel Goc, after last night's game. Lapierre has 570 career penalty minutes in 579 games in his 10-year career. The 215 pound, 6-foot-2 enforcer, has 65 career goals, 72 career assists, and 137 career points in those 579 games. He is known for his physical play and not for much else. I hope Jim Rutherford doesn't turn us into Goonsburgh and that Lapierre can contribute on the scoring side of things, like Downie has been able to do.

Lastly, there are no new injury updates. Crosby will be a game time decision. Tonight the Penguins have to focus on the Capitals. Play a solid game for a full 60 minutes and stay disciplined to get the win tonight. They can't let the Capitals get in their heads. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron 
Bennett, Sutter, Hornqvist
Spaling, Lapierre, Downie
Sill, Ebbett, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Bortuzzo
Scuderi, Despres

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 0 Capitals 4

3rd Period
0:00- This game is over and the Caps get the 4-0 win over the Pens. The Pens from last night didn't show up tonight and they looked horrible. Johnston better rip them a new one and they need to bounce back in a big way.

1:01- Letang battles hard and gets manhandled on a play. Perron comes to his aid and a scrum ensues. 4 on 4 hockey for 1:08.

1:25- Ward to the box for tripping and Pens with a power play chance.

1:54- Fleury with two huge back to back saves.

4:58- Caps power play for 1:29.

4:34- Kunitz is called for high sticking. 4 on 4 for 36 seconds.

5:57- Ovechkin pushes Ehrhoff to the ice...weird looking play. Ehrhoff goes down hard, but is able to walk on his own to the locker room. Pens come to his rescue. Pens get a power play.

7:35- Green Scores. The Pens with another bad dump in leads to an odd man rush for the Caps, once again. Green is able to capitalize on this chance. 4-0 Caps.

8:58- Fehr Scores. Fleury makes a solid initial save on a point shot. Fehr crashes the net to get the loose puck and put it in. The Pens defense didn't even go after him. 3-0 Caps.

9:17- Downie and Latta drop them

12:13- The Pens only have 20 shots and have had 21 shot attempts blocked.

14:10- The Pens are 13 for 30 in the faceoff circle tonight...not a good night.

16:20- Crosby's line has a great opening shift, but frustration is starting to set in though.

20:00- Third period time! The Pens better snap out of it and turn things around! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- That is it for the second period and the Caps extend their lead to 2-0.

2:40- Ovechkin Scores on the power play. Fleury has a huge screen in front. The Caps cycle the puck and it goes to a wide open Ovechkin. He doesn't miss. 2-0 Caps.

4:20- Right back to the penalty kill for the Pens as Bortuzzo is in the box for interference.

5:09- The Pens come up with a successful kill. Fleury makes a fantastic glove save on Green's shot as the penalty expires.

7:09- Perron will now sit in the box for interference. The Caps get a power play and this is not good timing. Huge kill for the Pens now.

9:45- That is it for the Pens power play and it wasn't a good one. Caps were in complete control.

11:45- The Pens are getting another power play chance as Hillen is called for slashing.

12:10- Crosby makes a pass to Ehrhoff on the rush. Ehrhoff returns the puck to Crosby, but he is hounded on the play. His shot goes over the net.

13:48- Fleury shuts the door on Green's attempt. Great save.

14:58- Letang shuts down a Capitals play...just in beast mode.

16:13- Perron feeds the puck through to Letang, driving down the center. Letang's shot is directed into the netting by Holtby.

18:31- Fleury makes a solid save on a bad angle shot.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have to get this game under control and pepper Holtby with shots! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- The first period horn sounds and the Caps have the 1-0 lead.

1:01- Sutter almost gets a breakaway, but the play is broken up.

4:11- Fleury makes split save, while sliding, on Latta stick handles around Despres and Scuderi.

4:27- Crosby makes a diving stretch to whack at a rebound chance in front, but Holtby is there for the save.

6:45- Sill and Wilson drop the gloves! I would say Wilson got the better of that fight...sadly.

8:06- Despres snaps a shot right off a faceoff win. Holtby grabs the puck up for a whistle.

10:25- Capitals with a successful kill as Carlson is released.

10:45- Fleury makes a huge shoulder save on Fehr's shorthanded chance.

12:25- Perron fights his way to the front of the net and Holtby makes the save. Carlson ends up taking a hooking penalty and the Pens will get a power play chance,

15:06- Ovechkin Scores. Alzner fires from the point and the shot is redirected by Ovechkin, up front, into the net. 1-0 Caps.

15:46- The Capitals get some offensive zone pressure going, but Fleury holds strong.

17:58- Downie and Laiperre exchange words with Wilson. That didn't take long.

20:00- Let the game begin! Crosby is back and I hope he lights the lamp tonight! The Pens have to play a smart and disciplined game! Lets Go Pens!

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