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Penguins Ready for Showdown with Capitals

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins and Capitals Thursday night showdown in the nation’s capital had been lingering all week. But before the Penguins would meet Washington in the first of four meetings this season between the two rivals, they had to face Phoenix Monday and Florida Wednesday at home.

Pittsburgh took care of business in impressive fashion with a 6-1 win over the Coyotes and a 5-2 triumph against Florida. But once that final buzzer sounded at CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday, the team was itching to make the trek to Washington.

“I think we’ve been focused on playing these games, and surprisingly so,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “I know now though that when we get this game over with, we’re all ready to get on that plane and get to Washington and give the fans exactly what they’re wanting.”

Thursday’s game at Verizon Center marks the first time that the two teams will meet on the ice since filming began for HBO’s “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic” all-access series.

It will serve as the prelude to the highly-anticipated 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic that will be played between the two teams at Heinz Field on New Year’s Day.

The second episode of the reality series aired Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

“I think there’s a lot of hype in our dressing room as well, to get some wins against them,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said.

“They’re a good team, they have a great offense and a lot of good players, so the past couple of years we’ve built up a little bit of a good rivalry with them. So it should be a fun game to play.”
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