Saturday, February 05, 2011

Game #54 - at Washington Capitals

Game 54
Penguins (34-15-4, 72 points) at Capitals (28-15-10, 66 points)

Why does it matter?
Life without Geno begins with a difficult road match against the Caps, who have their superstars available to them. This game will be a measuring stick for the 20 guys that take the ice tomorrow since they don't have Malkin and there's no telling when they'll get Crosby back.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Eight wins in the past nine games, including five in a row.
  • Capitals - They are a mediocre 5-3-5 since the Winter Classic, but Ovechkin and Backstrom each had four points as the Caps beat the Bolts on Friday.
Questions to be answered
  • How does the team react to their first serious long-term injury to a star since the end of the lockout?
  • Which Ovechkin will show up - the one with 8 shots and nothing to show for it or the one that scores on the power play and sets up three other goals?
  • Can the Pens avoid the slow starts that have plagued them against the Rangers and Sabres?
Keys to the game
  • Stay disciplined. The Caps have not been drawing many penalties - don't give the refs a reason to change that.
  • Stay close on Ovechkin - let him fire all the pucks he wants from near the blue line, but once he gets near the slot area, take away time and space.
  • Get ugly goals. That's how this team needs to win right now - get the puck to the net and crash hard.

No comments: