7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Last Penguins Game:
February 5, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, New York Islanders 2 [Recap]
The short season and the way the schedule was set up meant that you are goign to see a lot of the same teams in a short time span and this game tonight is just another one of those situations there that is going to happen. The Penguins are playing the Capitals for the second time in under a week, this time at the CONSOL Energy Center, and it might be the perfect time to get them. It is no secret that the Caps are struggling and while it would be nice to think that they aren't going to win another game the rest of the year the fact remains that they do have some talent and they will go on a winning streak and I don't want the Penguins to play against them when that happens. I want to play them when they are down and hopefully they don't pick tonight to start their winning streak.
The big news for the Penguins is that they have traded Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim for a fifth round pick. I saw a wide array of responses to this but it really wasn't all that surprising. Lovejoy is a great guy from what we all have seen in his time with the Penguins but he really wasn't overly talented. In his time with the Penguins he has had many ups and downs and for someone that was probably suited best as a seventh or eighth defenseman he just really fell out of favor here with the emergence of Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo over the last couple of weeks. I wish Ben all the best in Anaheim and you have to think this was a good faith trade to try and get him to a team that was going to put him on the ice.
Moving on, you probably won't see much change from the Penguins standpoint as they are playing some good hockey and when you are doing that you don't want to change too much. Kris Letang actually went off the ice during practice today so I don't really know what that means. He missed practice on Monday this week but played on Tuesday and Dan Bylsma said he was a game time decision so I guess we will all have to wait and see. Dylan Reece was called up just in case that Letang can't go. Actually that isn't why he was called up, he was called up to be a healthy scratch that Lovejoy was being but I think you get the point.
Marc Andre Fleury will get the start in goal tonight. He was outstanding in the win against the Islanders and will look to have another strong strong start, this time at home where he hasn't performed very well in his past few starts. No idea what that even means but hopefully he continues to play well.
The goaltender will change on the other end as well as Michal Neuvirth will be in net. Branden Holtby was rocked by the Pens in the last game these two played against each other.
As I said before the Caps do have some really top end talent and if they click it could be a long night. The Penguins need pay attention to detail tonight.
Pittsburgh (7-3-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Zach Boychuk - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Simon Despres - Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Robert Bortuzzo - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
Alex Ovechkin - Jay Beagle - Joey Crabb
Wojtek Wolski - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mike Ribeiro - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Marcus Johansson - Eric Fehr
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Tomas Kundratek
The Season Series (Penguins Lead 1-0-0)
February 3 - Pittsburgh 6, Washington 3