Gameday #11: v. Washington Capitals

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. Washington Capitals

Consol Energy Center, 7:00PM, Root Sports, NHL Network (local blackout)

My oh my the Capitals are an embarrassment. They’re last in the East, and they basically have NOTHING going for them at all. They have bad goaltending (after giving up on Vokoun), bad defense (just on the principal that Mike Green is their best defender), and both Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have completely forgotten how to produce.

The Caps are so bad that NHL.com felt the need to write about it. This seems like an honest, fairly written article, and they probably could have added more to it. There’s a lot of blame to go around but personally, our take is that the Caps need to cut loose their incredibly inept GM George McPhee. Over the last few years he’s basically done everything in his power to trade or release the character players who made the team as good as it was 4-5 years ago. What the Caps have leftover is a team that is, on paper, still very talented but completely devoid of cohesion and chemistry.

A lot of people out there are seriously advocating for the Caps to trade Alex Ovechkin. Admittedly this article was written back in August, but the gall of this writer is actually hilarious. How in the world would he believe that the Pens would be interested in trading James Neal for Ovechkin? As he correctly points out, Crosby and Malkin are already the second and third highest paid players in the league (behind only Ovechkin), Neal barely makes half of Ovechkin’s salary, he’s more productive, and everyone knew, even back in August that there would be a reduction in the overall salary cap either before the start of this season, or at the very least before next year. Give yourself a round of applause buddy.

Capitals blog Japer’s Rink with a big time article on how everything fell apart so fully and so completely for the Caps.

Anyway enough about the Caps. The Pens are rolling. They’ve now won their last 4 in a row and except for a brief flurry during the mid-third period in Tuesday’s game there has not been even an ounce of doubt. The images of the listless play against the Leafs, Jets, and Islanders is a distant memory. The Pens are doing what we have always hoped they would do: dominate. Over the last 4 games the Pens have outscored their opponents 18-6. Suttertron is all of a sudden starting to look very Jordan Staal-like, depth scoring has starting coming in from the most unexpected places, like Robert Bortuzzo (what?). And Sid and Geno are still climbing the league’s scoring race rankings.

As with so many games lately, we’re expecting the Pens to roll out the same skaters. There’s a chance that Dylan Reese could crack the lineup, but probably not today. We anticipate Vokoun going in the cage tonight, he’s already got the 1-0 record against the Caps, he’s already got the right attitude for squaring off against the Caps, and he’s yet to play at home, why not now?

Bury them. Go Pens.

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