Pens-Caps In-Game Blog
Thursday, 12.1.2011 / 6:30 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
PENGUINS 2, CAPITALS 1
0:00: The Pens have broken the Caps' streak of regular season success against them!!! Pittsburgh wins 2-1 thanks to goals from Adams and Kunitz!
0:30: Caps finally get a chance to pull Vokoun. Empty net for Washington.
4:55: Sid just got another quality scoring chance when he took a shot, then corralled his own wild rebound for another crack. It's his second such opportunity this period as he nearly scored on a tough wraparound a few minutes earlier.
7:32: Pens ice the puck after a long shift, so Bylsma uses his timeout to give his tired players a quick rest.
9:21: Sullivan's been working hard tonight and is getting the puck because of it; but he's being a little too unselfish once he earns it. Should probably shoot a bit more when he has the chance.
11:42: Pens get a 3-on-2 opportunity with Orpik going hard to the net as the third man!!! It nearly goes in off his skate but Vokoun manages to stretch the arm out in time!
17:24: Kennedy wins a neutral zone battle and allows Kunitz to swoop in and grab the puck. He enters the zone while fending off about three red jerseys and rips a shot at Vokoun that finds the back of the net! Despres gets his first NHL point with the secondary assist! Pens 2, Caps 1
19:00: Caps successfully kill off yet another Pens PP as Alzner is out of the box.
20:00: Puck drops and Pens will begin the period with 51 seconds left on the penalty to Alzner.
- Malkin and Kennedy lead the Pens with four shots apiece
- Martin leads with a hefty 19:33 of ice time
- Washington credited with 33 hits to the Pens' 18
0:00: Neal getting banged around in front of the cage to end the period. Pens-Caps tied 1-1, with Pittsburgh owning a 26-15 advantage in shots.
1:08: Penalty-marred last few minutes here as Alzer is called for holding on Geno while he's deployed with Sid and Kunitz. Pens to their third PP of the night!
2:03: Pens PK comes through for the rookie defenseman!
4:03: Caps head back to the PP when Despres gets his first NHL penalty (holding).
6:13: Pens successfully kill off the PP as Staalsy is released!
8:13: Staal goes to the box for charging when he crushes Semin into the boards. A bit questionable but regardless, Pens will head to the PK. Caps start with Orlov and Ovi on the points then Semin, Laich and Knuble up top for their first unit.
10:38: Caps back to full strength. Another solid PP for the Pens; just can't convert. They did have a number of decent opportunities.
12:38: Ovi gets whistled for interference and Pens' PP will go back to work!
13:35: Huge chance for the Caps just now! Ovi with a sick pass to Backstrom, whose one-timer hit the crossbar! If he had aimed just a little lower that would have been in as he had a wide-open net.
14:00: Big shift by Despres just now. He used his big body crushed Marcus Johansson in the corner while battling for a puck before winning it and making a nice first pass to Matt Cooke to break out of the Pens zone.
15:31: Not sure what was said in the Caps locker room during the first intermission, but whatever it was, it's working. Washington flying so far this period.
18:40: Chimera walks out of the corner and roofs a backhander past Fleury to even the score. He's now got a team-leading 10 goals. Pens 1, Caps 1
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!
- Despres skated 3:17 minutes that period and was a plus-1
- Niskanen has one official shot on goal and has had four other attempts blocked
- Caps are outhitting Pens 19-5
- Faceoff wins are dead even
0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens lead 1-0 thanks to a goal from Craig Adams and they're outshooting the Caps 13-4.
3:48: This has truly been some exciting hockey. Both teams playing with a lot of passion. Lots of back and forth going on here...
6:52: Pens got a number of good looks but couldn't convert. Caps back to full strength.
8:52: Cody Eakin slashes Adams and Pens are going to the PP!
10:11: Huge shift just now for the Caps after a slow first half. The Knuble line sieged 'Flower' pretty hard and got chance after chance, but luckily Fleury was up to the task!
14:33: Just seconds after setting up the goal, Asham drops the gloves with D John Erskine. Both land a few good punches and receive matching five-minute majors.
14:38: Asham emerges from the back of the net surrounded by red jerseys but somehow makes a beautiful pass through the blue paint to Craig Adams waiting at the back door! Addsy tucks it home for the score! Pens 1, Caps 0
15:20: Niskanen leads the rush with Neal and Sullivan flanking him. He dishes to Sully, who sends a perfect cross-ice feed to Neal. Neal winds up and blasts a one-timer that beat Vokoun but rings off the post!
15:48: Pens really dictating the play these first few minutes. They've been attacking the net hard and already have four shots to Washington's zero.
17:12: Despres is on the ice for his first shift! He just skated with Orpik and Sid's line.
17:54: Looks like Bylsma is pitting the D pair of Martin and Engelland against the Ovechkin, Backstrom and Brouwer line.
19:08: Crosby on the ice for his first shift, and to no surprise, he's serenaded with boos when he first touches the puck.
20:00: Puck drops to start the first. Game on in the nation's capital!
Pens scratch Vitale (and Letang and Michalek). Here are the official lines:
Fleury in goal. Tomas Vokoun starting for Washington.
Hello and good evening everyone! The Pens are in the midst of warmups at the hostile Verizon Center preparing to battle their rival Capitals who have a new bench boss in Dale Hunter, coaching his second game since the team fired Bruce Boudreau on Monday.
There's certainly been a lot going on with the Capitals lately, with their new coach an attempt to fix the problems they've been having. They're on a slide where they've won just three of their last 12 games and have been limited to one goal in five of their last eight contests (and allowed 33 over that same span). I went to work researching what's been behind their struggles, and this is what I came up with. Watch the Cliffs Notes version below:
But while the Caps' offensive guns have been struggling for quite some time, that doesn't mean they won't roar to life tonight – and unfortunately for the Pens, they won't have top-two defensemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek in the contest to help prevent that from happening. However, Pittsburgh will have highly-touted prospect Simon Despres making his NHL debut tonight, who's expected to skate on the third pairing with fellow rookie Robert Bortuzzo. Dan Rosen of NHL.com put together a nice piece on how Bylsma plans to utilize last season's QMJHL's Best Defenseman.
For the rest of the game day coverage, you've absolutely got to visit Sam Kasan's Penguins Report as he's with the team in the nation's capital.
With everything else that's going on, a little lost is the fact that this will be the first matchup between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin since Jan. 1. The rivalry between the two may not be quite what it used to be, but it's still going to be pretty awesome watching the superstars go head to head tonight. In honor of that: