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Penguins vs. Capitals Scouting Report

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 9:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Capitals Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 1-0-0-2
Road: 2-0-1-5

WHEN: Oct. 13, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Washington Capitals
Home: 2-0-0-4

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals 






Jason Chimera
LW  -  #25
  3 Goals
  0 Assists
  3 Points
• Veteran winger leads the Capitals with three goals in two games, scoring his 100th-career NHL tally in Washington’s 6-5 shootout win over Tampa Bay on Monday.

• Biggest assets are his speed and skating ability – combine that with his size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and grit, and he’s a formidable force.

• Chimera, who signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract extension with the Capitals on Sept. 29, has been thriving on what coach Bruce Boudreau dubbed a “meat-and-potatoes” line with Brooks Laich and Joel Ward.
Troy Brouwer
RW -  #20
  1 Goal
  0 Assists
  1 Point
• Traded to Washington on June 24 from Chicago in exchange for the Capitals’ first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

• Physical, hard-hitting winger leads the Capital with 13 hits in two games after pacing the Blackhawks with 262 checks in 2010-11 (and finishing in the top three of that category the two seasons prior).

• Is expected to play right wing on the top line with left wing Alex Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom.
John Carlson
D  -  #74
  0 goals
2 assists
2 points
• The 21-year-old joined forces with fellow rookie Karl Alzner last season to form Washington’s top shutdown pairing last season.

• Averaged 22:38 minutes per game in the 2010-11 regular season, tops among rookies, and led the Capitals and was second of all first-year players with 24:23 minutes per game in the playoffs.

Washington’s first-round pick (27th overall) of the 2008 Entry Draft tied a franchise record for rookie defensemen last season with 37 points.
The Washington Capitals have been an offensive juggernaut for the past few seasons, but changed their philosophy last season under coach Bruce Boudreau to become stronger defensively. But despite their adjustments, the Capitals found themselves making another early playoff exit when Tampa Bay swept them in the second round. Washington is trying to find the perfect balance between offense and defense, and it’s still a work in progress – but they enter Thursday’s game with two wins in their first two games.

The Capitals’ forward lineup remains one of the league’s deepest and most talented, headlined by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. While Ovechkin’s 32 goals last season was a career-low, that’s certainly still a lot of offense by most people’s standards. Backstrom, the playmaking Swede who normally centers Ovechkin, also saw his numbers drop a bit last season after posting career highs in 2009-10 – but is sure to bounce back with a vengeance. Semin also seems poised to return to peak form as well after injury troubles last year. Newcomer Troy Brouwer – a physical winger acquired from Chicago this summer – and veteran Mike Knuble should round out their top six.

Meanwhile, the line of Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera and newcomer Joel Ward has been excellent, shutting down the opposing teams’ top lines while producing points of their own. They’ve combined for seven points in two games, led by Chimera’s three goals. Also making their mark up front are youngsters Marcus Johansson, who had spurts of brilliance in his rookie season last year, along with Mathieu Perrault.

The Capitals added a couple of veteran presences to their blue line this summer in Roman Hamrlik and Dennis Wideman. They’ll complement a group that was led last season by then-rookies John Carlson and Karl Alzner, who formed the Capitals’ top shutdown defensive pairing and could do so again this year. Hamrlik has been paired with the offensively gifted Mike Green, who’s been working on his defensive game. Jeff Schultz rounds out the back end.

With Semyon Varlamov dealt to Colorado this summer, the Capitals brought in Tomas Vokoun – a veteran workhorse who had spent the previous four seasons toiling between the pipes for the Florida Panthers. He’s currently splitting time with fellow Czech Michal Neuvirth. Although the young Neuvirth tends to star against the Penguins, he missed Wednesday’s practice with a lower-body injury, with Boudreau calling him “day-to-day” and saying that he might be in net Thursday.
  • The Penguins and Capitals will be honoring the families of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL team that perished in a plane crash Sept. 7 in Russia. Pens and Caps players will wear jerseys with commemorative Lokomotiv patches, then autograph the game-worn and game-issued jerseys afterward to be auctioned off at All proceeds will benefit the Lokomotiv players’ children and families. The auction will begin at puck drop on Oct. 13 and run through Oct. 27 at
  • Wives and girlfriends of the Pens and Caps players also will be selling remembrance bracelets to benefit the Lokomotiv families. Penguins’ wives and girlfriends will be selling bracelets tonight in the arena concourse. The Caps’ event took place at their home opener on Oct. 8 against Carolina at Verizon Center and raised more than $7,000.
  • The Penguins are hoping to snap a 0-6-1 slide at home against Washington dating back to 6-5 shootout loss to the Capitals on Jan. 21, 2008.
  • Pittsburgh is hoping to end a 157:47 minute goalless stretch against the Capitals that dates back to Evgeni Malkin’s second-period goal in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field.
  • The Penguins enter this game tonight unbeaten through their first four games of the season for just the fifth time in franchise history and the first time since starting 12-0-1 in 1994-95.
  • Last season Zbynek Michalek was assigned to cover Washington star Alex Ovechkin. Michalek and the Penguins did an admirable job containing Ovechkin, limiting him to just one goal on 22 shots (4.5%) and a minus-one rating in four games. That was a huge improvement over the previous season in 2009-10, when Ovechkin was the leading scorer in the season series with seven goals and 10 points and a plus-8 rating in four games. That year, Ovechkin scored seven times on 22 shots for a shooting percentage of 31.8%.
  • After picking up assists and points in each of the Penguins’ first four games, Kris Letang can equal his career long streak in both categories with both an assist and point tonight. Letang’s previous five-game assist/point streak came Nov. 1-13, 2008 (5A).




2010-11 STAT CHART

D Robert Bortuzzo, lower-body (indefinitely)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (indefinitely)
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee (indefinitely)
F Evgeni Malkin, lower-body (day-to-day)
D Brooks Orpik, lower abdominal/hernia (day-to-day)
F Nick Petersen, concussion (indefinitely)
D Boris Valabik, knee (indefinitely)
Cooke (3) Chimera (3)
Letang (5) Three tied with (2)
Letang (6) Chimera (3)
Malkin (8) Three tied with (4)
Letang (4) Five tied with (2)
Five tied with (1) Laich/Green (1)
Park/Cooke (1)
Fleury (3-0-0)
Neuvirth (1-0-0)
Fleury (2.59) Theodore (2.90)
Fleury (.911) Theodore (.903)

D John Erskine shoulder surgery, (mid-October)
D Tom Poti, groin (expected to miss entire season)





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No Better Script 
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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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