0:00: The clock his double zeroes and the Washington Capitals walk away with a 6-3 victory in the first of four matchups between two of the Eastern Conference's top heavyweights. Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko each pick up three assists in a losing effort. Pittsburgh will be in action on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the contest will be nationally televised by NBC.
Ovechkin puts the game away by sending the biscuit into the empty cage from his own zone. It's his second goal of the game. Capitals 6, Penguins 3.
With a faceoff to the left of Theodore the Penguins have used their timeout and have pulled Johnson from the cage.
Malkin dances through the whole Washington team but it's Theodore there to stand his ground.
The Penguins are going to need to find some offense in a hurry if they are going to make this two-goal comeback.
Theodore catches a Letang snap shot as the Capitals netminder continues to stymie the Penguins in the final period.
The Penguins once again move the puck around against the Washington penalty kill but have nothing to show for it.
Tonight's Don Farr Moving and Storage Moves of the Game as seen on Jumbotron:
A slashing penalty assessed to Backstrom will give the Penguins a chance to put a dent into this two-goal lead the Capitals own.
9:40: Dustin Jeffrey
is now taking shifts with Crosby and Geurin as the Penguins look for more offense.
Theodore makes his second big save on Guerin in 15 seconds by denying his shot from the slot. The crowd is getting into the game as the Penguins continue to raise their game.
Theodore stops a long-range shot from Gonchar as the Penguins begin pressing in the offensive zone.
Washington strikes again on the man-advantage as Backstrom takes the puck to the far post and throws a shot over the glove of Johnson. Capitals 5, Penguins 3.
Guerin goes to the penalty box on an interference call.
Pittsburgh gets trapped in the offensive zone and Tomas Fleischmann takes advantage of a pretty leap pass from Semin to beat Johnson with a wrist shot stick side. Capitals 4, Penguins 3.
Neither team has picked up a shot here in the third period as the two combatants figuratively spar to set the other up.
We should have a fun finish in this battle of NHL heavyweights.
is playing his first game of the season while Evgeni Malkin
had three points thus far for the Penguins.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- The Penguins outshot the Capitals, 12-9.
- Craig Adams
and Jordan Staal
each had four hits.
- Sidney Crosby
leads the Penguins with four shots.
If the third period is anything like the first two, we are in for a treat down the stretch here at Mellon Arena. After 40 minutes the score is all knotted up, 3-3. Pittsburgh is outshooting the Capitals, 25-24.
Thanks to $17,309 in donations from Penguins fans and a matching donation from the Penguins organization, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be contributing more than $34,600 to the American Red Cross to benefit the Haiti earthquake victims. Congratulations to both Penguins fans and the organization for their outstanding generosity.
It doesn't take long for Ovechkin and the Capitals to tie the score with the man-advantage. Ovechkin takes a feed from Brendan Morrison at the center point and throws a wrist shot behind Johnson to knot the score. Penguins 3, Capitals 3.
4:11: Sidney Crosby
had an extra long media scrum this morning with Ovechkin and the Capitals in town:
Washington will ice the league's No. 1 power-play unit following a holding penalty against Letang.
The game starts to get a little chippy as Fehr and Matt Cooke
mix it up against the near boards at the top of the Washington zone.
Chants of "Geno, Geno" fill the arena as Malkin is having yet another dominant performance against the Caps.
As Letang touches up an icing call it's the Penguins who have began taking over this game. Washington uses their timeout following the icing call.
Jay McKee stays with Ovechkin and blocks a slap shot off the Capitals superstar's stick to the side boards. Once again, the crowd enjoys seeing this.
Carlson's penalty had just expired but great puck movement by the Penguins gives them the 3-2 lead. Malkin keeps the puck alive in the corner to Fedotenko. The Penguins winger dishes the puck from the right of Theodore to Letang cutting down the slot. Letang's one-timer beats Theodore over the blocker. Penguins 3, Capitals 2.
It's another Penguins power play with John Carlson in the box for hooking.
Mellon Arena goes crazy as Brooks Orpik
drills Ovechkin to the ice against the near boards in the Penguins zone.
Here is tonight's Big Five sponsored by Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. You'll notice they all involve the Washington Capitals:
Great play by Staal to get back and poke the puck off the stick of Nicklas Backstrom who had gotten a step on the Penguins.
Great ovation by Penguins fans congratulating Johnson on his first NHL goal.
What an answer by the Penguins. Theodore has trouble with a Fedotenko shot and Malkin slides the rebound to a wide-open Nick Johnson standing just outside the crease for the first goal of his NHL career. Penguins 2, Capitals 2.
Eric Fehr takes the puck to the net out of the far corner and the rubber bounces off a Penguins skate in front and jumps over Johnson to give Washington their first lead. Capitals 2, Penguins 1.
Washington kills off the nine seconds remaining in the Semin infraction.
The Penguins begin the period with a brief nine-second power play.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- The Penguins outhit the Capitals, 12-9.
- Sidney Crosby
led the Penguins with three shots on goal.
- Sergei Gonchar played a game-high 9:50 in the opening frame.
and Matt Cooke
are both former Capitals now skating for the Penguins.
The first period here at Mellon Arena was as good as advertised. Both teams scored once - Sidney Crosby
for the Penguins and Mike Knuble (set up by Alex Ovechkin) for the Capitals. Washington outshot the Penguins, 15-13.
The Penguins are buzzing like bees around the Washington net and the cage became dislodged so Crosby tried putting it back on but the referees alertly blow the whistle.
Washington is headed to the sin bin for the second time tonight. This time is Semin for holding. Penguins fans like hearing that.
Alex Goligoski steps into a slap shot at the center point and Theodore makes a glove save on his drive. Theodore allows the Penguins zone time to get the shot with another gaffe playing the puck.
Theodore stands tall to make a blocker save on a slap shot off the blade of Craig Adams
streaking down the right side leading a three-on-two into the zone.
Ovechkin's wrist shot following a power move to the net driving down the left side is denied by Johnson but Knuble followed the play and scored on the rebound. Penguins 1, Capitals 1.
Fedotenko takes a centering pass and his backhander just misses beating Theodore to the far side.
The Penguins honored the Highmark High School Players of the Month at the second stoppage of the first period. To read about the four recipients click here
Theodore does a couple snow angels in the net to keep shots from Crosby and Bill Geurin from giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Washington kills the Morrisonn penalty.
Sergei Gonchar cranks a shot off the goal post from the center point.
Nick Johnson has made quite an impression in his first period at the NHL level. He steals the puck from Shaone Morrisonn at the Pittsburgh blue line and forces him to take a penalty. Johnson nearly scores his first goal at the other end of the rink.
Once again Johnson is sharp between the pipes for the Penguins as he stays with a Nick Schultz shot deflected right outside the crease by Mike Knuble to catch it with his glove.
Here are highlights from last season's seven-game postseason win over the Capitals:
Johnson makes another good stop by catching a shot from Brendan Morrison in the near circle between his blocker and his arm.
Pittsburgh strikes first as the opening tally comes off a weird play. Jose Theodore has trouble with a dump in the zone as it goes off his stick and floats through the crease. Fedotenko banks the puck off Theodore and off the post and Crosby is there to slide the rebound across the line. Fedotenko and Malkin get the assists as Malkin deflected the Letang dump. Penguins 1, Capitals 0.
Mark Eaton makes a great recovery to use his skate to block an Ovechkin shot from the right circle on a rush into the Penguins zone.
16:24: Sidney Crosby
sneaks through the middle of the Capitals defense and fires a shot off the outside of the net from the high slot.
Johnson makes the first big save of the night with a pad stop on Alexander Semin's snap shot from the slot.
The boo birds are out as Alex Ovechkin steps onto the ice for the first time tonight. The Jordan Staal
line is out against him.
This heavyweight matchup is underway.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Brent Johnson
is 4-0 with a 1.15 goals-against average against his former team.
With Dupuis and Talbot out the Penguins recalled forwards Nick Johnson and Dustin Jeffrey
for tonight's game. Johnson is in the starting lineup on a line with Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko. Click here
to read about both players.
We have a surprise scratch for the Washington Capitals. Defenseman Mike Green, the leading scorer among defensemen in the NHL is out of tonight's contest. John Erskine and Quintin Laing are also scratched for Washington. Pittsburgh's scratches include Pascal Dupuis
, Maxime Talbot and Martin Skoula.
The matchup the hockey world has been waiting for since the Penguins eliminated the Capitals from the postseason in Game 7 of a thrilling Eastern Conference Semifinal series resumes for the first time in 2009-10 at Mellon Arena. The headlining acts - Sidney Crosby
and Alexander Ovechkin - both enter this contest red-hot. Crosby has picked up 14 points (8G-6A) over his past seven games while Ovechkin has notched 15 points (4G-11A) in the same period.
Author: Jason Seidling