Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gameday: at Pittsburgh, Feb. 21

"Hey, Cookie. Pull that crap again, you'll meet my butt end."
The Washington Capitals are in Pittsburgh tonight for their fourth and final regular season matchup this season with the rival Penguins.  The Capitals come into tonight's action with 72 standings points in 60 games, which places them second in the Southeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals got more good news yesterday after they beat the Sabres when the Canadiens got smacked in the Heritage Classic, which secured the Capitals' three point advantage on Montreal for fifth place.  The Penguins have earned 77 points in 60 games, which places them second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.  Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is coming off a tough shootout loss in Chicago yesterday that they dropped by a 3-2 score.  As always this Penguins-Capitals matchup is not just another regular season game, and the bad blood between these two franchises has never been stronger.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will roll with Marc-Andre Fleury in nets for his club for the fifth consecitive game between these two clubs.  Fleury has allowed 7 goals in his 3 meetings with the Capitals this year and is coming off a 29-save performance yesterday in Chicago.  The Penguins are still without no. 87, who is now pushing two months missed with a concussion that he sustained in early January.  There is no timetable for Crosby's return, either, as he is still experiencing symptoms.  Pittsburgh agitator Matt Cooke, who was garnered a four-game ban for leg checking Alex Ovechkin in the last meeting between the two teams, is two games removed from the end of that suspension, and, as always, will be rearing to go against his former club.

Bruce Boudreau, surprisingly, has decided to give Michal Neuvirth the nod in goal tonight, despite Semyon Varlamov's excellent performance yesterday in Buffalo. Boudreau had, until this game, employed the "win and you're in" method of selecting a goaltender, even for back-to-back games, and this begs the question that maybe Varly aggravated something yesterday (gulp).  Nevertheless, Neuvirth has been great against the Penguins this year, allowing 2 goals in 2 games (one of which was a shutout), and stopping 47 of the 49 shots thrown his way.  Mike Green will not play tonight, although he is still improving and went through a rigorous practice this morning without incident.  After the skate, he said that he hopes to play Friday night against the Rangers.  No lineup changes are expected for Washington, which means that DJ King will remain the lone healthy scratch.

Puck drops for this game 7:38-ish, and will be televised nationally on Versus. Check back after the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment