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Thread: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

      
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    Default Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10


    PENGUINS (23-10-2) at CAPITALS (20-12-4)

    TV -- NHL NETWORK-US (HD), FS-Pittsburgh (HD), CSN-DC (HD)

    Last 10 -- Pittsburgh 8-2-0; Washington 2-6-2

    Season series -- In the first of four showdowns this season between the two Eastern Conference powerhouses, the Pittsburgh Penguins will look to avenge last season's sweep by the Caps.

    Big story -- The League's hottest rivalry will take center stage in what will be the preview to the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Cameras will also be rolling for the much discussed HBO reality show, "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic." Both teams enter this game having won their last two games.

    Team Scope:

    Penguins -- After hitting a pothole with consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers after winning 12 in a row, the Penguins appear to have found their game again. Led by the two-headed monster of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have blown out their last two opponents, Phoenix and Florida, by a combined score of 11-3.

    Coach Bylsma on if the team looks forward to the game:

    "Not really. I mean, are we anxious to play them and do we know it's a big game? Yeah, for sure," the head coach said. "That game has always got a lot to it for our team - playing against a good team, one of the best teams in the East."

    Capitals -- After eight consecutive losses, the Caps are putting the wheels back on the bus. They snapped the drought by rallying for a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Sunday, then made it two in a row by whipping New Jersey 5-1 on Tuesday.

    But beating the struggling Senators and dreadful Devils is one thing. Knocking off the powerful Penguins is quite another.

    "They might be the best team in the league right now," goaltender Michal Neuvirth said, "so we've got to be ready and we got to bring our best."

    Who's hot -- Crosby enters the highly anticipated match with a 22-game point streak, a career-high, while Caps' superstar Alex Ovechkin looks to extend his point streak to four games. Neuvirth has allowed just three goals in winning the Caps' last two games.

    Injury report -- Forwards Matt Hendricks and Eric Fehr are expected to be in the lineup against the Penguins after recovering from personal and undisclosed issues, while Matt Bradley is out miss 2-4 weeks with a fractured finger. The Penguins may be without the services of backup goalie Brent Johnson, who left Wednesday night's game in the second period with a lower body injury.

    Stat pack -- Crosby leads the NHL in goals (28) and points (58) and is two assists shy of leading the NHL in that category as well.

    Puck drop -- With all the buildup to this game, the Penguins had to work hard to keep their focus on Florida during Wednesday's game, especially after jumping to a quick 3-1 lead. The Panthers outshot them 29-17 during the final two periods.

    "We had the lead but we probably could have done a better job - I think partly because we're thinking about tomorrow," Crosby said.

    HBO's "24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" will feature this first Pens-Caps game of the 2010-11 season in its third installment on Dec. 29.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [HIGH-LIGHT]
    LET'S GO PENS!!! LET'S GO PENS!!! LET'S GO PENS!!![/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Last edited by Kipper; Dec-23-2010 at 05:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10


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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Penguins-Capitals Preview
    STATS LLC

    The HBO cameras will be rolling, and there will be a palpable buzz on the ice as the rivalry between hockey's two biggest superstars -- and two apparent Eastern Conference contenders -- is renewed.

    The Winter Classic isn't until New Year's Day. But the same two points are up for grabs Thursday night at the Verizon Center.

    Subjects of a documentary leading up to the NHL's signature spectacle, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals meet in the nation's capital to provide a sneak preview of the highly anticipated outdoor game.

    Four points are all that separate Alex Ovechkin (568) from Sidney Crosby (564) atop the scoring charts since the two entered the NHL in 2005-06, so it was natural for two of the game's premier players to develop an individual rivalry.

    That's certainly been the case, and that competition has carried over to their teammates. There have been ebbs and flows -- Pittsburgh (23-10-2) won 10 of the first 12 regular-season meetings while Washington (20-12-4) has won seven of the last eight -- but it was the Penguins' seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal victory over the Caps two seasons ago that really ignited a rivalry.

    The NHL has done plenty to promote the Crosby-Ovechkin and Pens-Caps feuds, with this season's Winter Classic in Pittsburgh and accompanying HBO documentary perhaps the most-hyped elements yet.

    But first, Washington looks for a fifth straight win in the series.

    "It's a huge game," Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth said. "They might be the best team in the league right now, so we've got to bring our best."

    Over the past six weeks, Neuvirth's assessment is correct. Pittsburgh beat Florida 5-2 at home on Wednesday to improve to 16-2-1 since Nov. 12, with those 33 points the most in the league during that stretch.

    Crosby has led the way. He scored less than eight minutes in against the Panthers to extend his points streak to 22 games, during which he's amassed 22 goals and 21 assists.

    The Penguins were outshot 29-17 over the final two periods Wednesday, but Crosby seemed to know why.

    "We had the lead but we probably could have done a better job -- I think partly because we're thinking about tomorrow," said Crosby, who leads the league with 58 points.

    With a point Thursday -- and he has one in 20 straight games, playoffs included, versus Washington (16 goals, 19 assists) -- Crosby will own NHL's longest streak since Mats Sundin's 30-game run with Quebec to open the 1992-93 season.

    The Capitals, meanwhile, hardly look like the same regular-season juggernaut. Washington had 18 more points than anyone in the East last season before flaming out in the first round of the playoffs, and an 18-6-2 start seemed to indicate little had changed.

    But a seven-game losing streak began shortly before HBO began filming, and only in the last two games -- a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Saturday and a 5-1 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday -- have the Capitals snapped out of their funk.

    "I think winning rejuvenates guys," said coach Bruce Boudreau, whose profanity-laced locker-room rants have become a focal point of the cable series. "It's a much happier locker room the last couple of games, so that's good."

    The next step is getting Ovechkin going. The two-time Hart Trophy winner hasn't scored in seven games and has just two goals in his last 17 contests. He has two power-play goals -- none at home -- after averaging 18.6 in his first five seasons.

    Facing the Penguins has brought out Ovechkin's best recently. Including the playoff series, Ovechkin has 19 goals and 11 assists in his last 15 games versus Pittsburgh.

    Boudreau knows Ovechkin and his teammates are looking forward to Thursday.

    "I think we're looking forward to it because the build-up has been so big," Boudreau said. "They haven't stopped winning. They had a little blip on the radar. We're in like a mini-turnaround.

    "We're not where we want to be, but it's better than going in 0-10."

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=301223023

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Man, I freakin ' HATE the Caps!.........

    ... It's a perfect "tune-up" for my emotions before the Classic.....

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Why the Penguins star may be the best forward of the modern era
    By Kent Wilson
    Hockey Prospectus

    With Sidney Crosby sporting a 10-point lead over Steven Stamkos in the Art Ross race and a 10-goal, 18-point gap between himself and Alexander Ovechkin, The Kid is pulling away from the pack this season and clearly showing himself to be the preeminent forward of his generation. That greatness becomes even more impressive when put into the context of this season and, if it continues, could rank this campaign as one of the best in NHL history.

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Man, I freakin ' HATE the Caps!.........

    ... It's a perfect "tune-up" for my emotions before the Classic.....
    Exactly! I'm perfectly fine with them until gameday, and then, a Flyerslike hate ramps up. I can't explain it.

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10


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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Quote Originally Posted by Xterratu View Post
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    Exactly! I'm perfectly fine with them until gameday, and then, a Flyerslike hate ramps up. I can't explain it.
    Actually, for me, I can't stand 'em anytime at all... Even during highlights on ESPN...

    ... I attended several Pens/Caps games and playoff games years ago... Had to be "escorted" out to our vehicle in the parking lot at the Cap Center because the fan abuse was freakin' phenomenal!...

    Caps are my #1 hated team, closely followed by the Rangers....

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10








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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Actually, for me, I can't stand 'em anytime at all... Even during highlights on ESPN...

    ... I attended several Pens/Caps games and playoff games years ago... Had to be "escorted" out to our vehicle in the parking lot at the Cap Center because the fan abuse was freakin' phenomenal!...

    Caps are my #1 hated team, closely followed by the Rangers....
    I don't understand that. To each their own. I hate the Flyers the most followed by the Devils and Redwinds. Then there is a group - Capitols, Rangers, Senators etc

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    I don't understand that.
    I hate the Caps after my 5 experiences going to Washington for games on their turf... I hate the Rangers because of a VERY heated rivalry that me and another individual had during the 90's.... Flyers are third on my list...

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    I always hate division people first. The Devils may suck this year but I am loving every minute of it. The Craps to me are like the Colts of the NHL. Regular season kings but playoff choke jobs. I'd rather see them take the cup than the Flyers tho I'll tell you that.

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    I don't understand that. To each their own. I hate the Flyers the most followed by the Devils and Redwinds. Then there is a group - Capitols, Rangers, Senators etc
    I hate the Flyers. I don't hate any other teams besides the Caps on game days because every game is so closely fought and full of passion that you gotta get pumped and just get hatin' Then it's the Sens. Ok I reheheheheally don't like the Sens. Ok I hate the Sens too.

    Most hated:

    1. Flyers, 2. Sens and 3. Caps (only on gamedays).
    Last edited by Xterratu; Dec-23-2010 at 05:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Game 36 : Penguins @ Capitals : 12.23.10

    And actually... I don't hate that many teams from the West because we don't see them that much but I think I could really develop some hate for Vancouver and the Sedin's for sure. It's the conceit. The last time we played them, we won but it still stuck in my craw. Now often do you win and still get that feeling from the game.

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