Six years later, the NHL’s two biggest stars will once again face off.
According to reports, their teams might also play.
Nate Schmidt on Ovechkin/Crosby: "We thought they would play a one-on-one game for the first period and see how that would go."
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 28, 2016
Sid vs Ovi is a headline, not a story. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a talented offensive team riding a white-hot season finish under a new coach. The Washington Capitals are the league’s most successful team, armed with balanced attack and a top-tier backstop.
The Caps-Pens series of 2009 was one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. In that battle of Sid vs Ovi, the winner was probably Malkin. Shrug. Maybe this series will be determined by star power, but that’s generally not the way this team sport works.
Now that I’ve spent this intro de-hyping tonight’s game, let’s actually get into it. Puck drop on NBCSN at 8 PM. It’s on.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Washington Capitals||56-18-8||52.0%||101.1||21.9% (5th)||85.2% (2nd)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||48-26-8||53.0%||100.6||18.4% (16th)||84.4 % (5th)|
Ch-ch-changes, per Isa.
Ovechkin – Backstrom – Oshie
Johansson – Kuznetsov – Williams
Chimera – Richards – Burakovsky
Winnik – Beagle – Wilson
Orpik – Carlson
Alzner – Niskanen
Orlov – Schmidt
At 5v5, the Penguins are the best remaining team in the playoffs. The Caps, for their part, aren’t bad aside from two major swoons this season.
Special teams is more interesting. The Pens will be far more aggressive during the PK than the Flyers were, but their power play may have some holes for the Caps to exploit.
Spenser (RMNBMVP) also offers some great analysis on how important neutral zone play will be. If you ask me, and this is a cop-out, I think this series will be decided in net.
The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is directly across the street from Verizon Center. Following games, Pittsburgh fans sometimes gather there to celebrate. It is very annoying.
We’ve been contacted a few times this week by folks who are worried about this gathering and want to stop it.
Let’s take the behavior of some fans last series as an object lesson on hospitality. Let’s do the opposite. Let’s be gracious hosts, let’s be genteel af. And anyway, confrontation and harassment seem to me to be contrary to the idea (if not the practice) of our nation’s capital.
I hope this whole issue is moot after the Caps win.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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