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Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh

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Washington vs. Pittsburgh

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31Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Fri May 01, 2009 1:26 pm

shabbs


Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
PKC wrote:
shabbs wrote:
PKC wrote:Why the Diddle do I have to work tomorrow and miss this epic Diddle game?
I was thinking I'll miss the game too, but it's a 1:00pm start.

Sweet.

You're right! I don't work until 5! HOORAY!
Get those beers on ice...

32Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Sat May 02, 2009 7:33 am

shabbs


Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Game 1 is at 1:00pm EST today!

33Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Sat May 02, 2009 10:20 am

davetherave


All-Star
All-Star
Star Wars

By MIKE ZEISBERGER 2nd May 2009, Toronto Sun

ARLINGTON, Va. -- If WWE guru Vince McMahon was promoting the upcoming Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins grudge match, the spin likely would go something like this.

"In the red corner, representing the nation's capital, the most electrifying figure in the sport, the man with the trade mark gap-toothed grin ... Alexander The Great!

"Over in the black corner, representing Steeltown, the young man considered The Next One for more than a decade ... Sid The Kid!

"And his tag team partner, also representing Steeltown via Russia, the Kremlin Kid, Evgeni Malkin!"

Is the hype being shovelled a little bit too thick? Perhaps. But don't forget: both Crosby and Malkin have a history with Ovechkin.

Ovechkin was the first overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft, taken one spot ahead of Malkin.

One year later, Crosby was the No. 1 selection.

Since that time, Crosby and Ovechkin have been considered the future faces of the sport. There is a rivalry here, whether either player wants there to be or not.

"Do I wake up hoping to see Ovechkin fail? No I don't," Crosby said. "He's a guy I play against. He's a great player. We're competitive against each other but there's an element there where the media puts us up against one another."

Of course we do. It's a natural.

Especially when events happen like those of Feb. 22 in Washington when Ovechkin, having exchanged shoves and verbal barbs with Crosby, waved bye to the Pens captain after their run-in was over.

"Like it or lump it, that's what he does. Some people like it, some people don't. Personally I don't like it," Crosby said at the time.

Ovechkin's responded by claiming Crosby "talks too much."

In the subsequent weeks, Crosby's allegations were linked to Ovechkin's at-times over-the-top goal-scoring celebrations, a suggestion Crosby this week said was wrong.

"I didn't like the way he was using his hands or the gestures he was making," Crosby explained, "It didn't have anything to do with goal celebrations. That was a totally made-up story.

"The taunting is what I didn't like about that."

As for Malkin, Ovechkin reportedly once took a swing at Malkin's Russian agent, Gennady Ushakov, at a Moscow night club. Then, during a game earlier this season, Ovechkin took runs at Malkin almost every shift they faced each other.

You want rivalries? You want feuds? You got them!

---

Alex Ovechkin, LW
Age: 23
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 225 lbs.
Birthplace: Moscow
Drafted: 1st overall, 2004
2008-09 Regular Season: 79 GP, 56 G, 54 A, 110 PTS
Career Regular Season: 324 GP, 219 G, 201 A, 420 PTS
Career Playoffs: 14 GP, 7 G, 9 A, 16 PTS

THE SKINNY: "Ovi: has another key on his chain -- it's the key to the city of Washington, D.C., which he was given June, 13, 2008. A day earlier, he became the first player ever to win the Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson
Award, Art Ross Trophy and Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy all in the same season ... His mother, Tatiana, won two Olympic gold medals in basketball (1976, 1980). His father, Mikhail, is a former pro soccer player. And his brother, Mikhail, is the hockey-season roommate of the best player in Washington Capitals history: Alex Ovechkin

A portion of his $9 million salary goes to the purchase of eight Caps1 season tickets, which he donates to soldiers and needy children as part of 3Ovi1s Crazy Eights2 program ... Has appeared on the cover of The Hockey News seven times, but the cover of The Washington Post Magazine just once ... His childhood hero was Alexander Maltsev, despite the fact the former Russian star was 36 the day Ovechkin was born ... Favourite sport other than hockey is basketball ... Favourite
foods are pasta and sushi ... Launched his own designer streetwear clothing line last June.

Alexander Semin, LW
Age: 25
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthplace: Krasnojarsk, Russia
Drafted: 13th overall, 2002
2008-09 Regular Season: 62 GP, 34 G, 45 A, 79 PTS,
Career Regular Season: 254 GP, 108 G, 108 A, 216 PTS

THE SKINNY: Was actually the Caps' second, first-round pick in 2002. They had back-to-back selections and took Steve Eminger right before him ... Caused a buzz with the following comments at the end of October, when he led the NHL in scoring with 16 points: "What's so special about Sidney Crosby? I don't see anything special there," said Semin. "Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else."

---

Sidney Crosby, C
Age: 21
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthplace: Cole Harbour, N.S.
Drafted: 1st overall, 2005
2008-09 Regular Season: 77 GP, 33 G, 70 A, 103 PTS,
Career Regular Season: 290 GP, 132 G, 265 A, 397 PTS
Career Playoffs: 31 GP, 13 G, 27 A, 40 PTS

THE SKINNY: Averaged 2.51 points per game in his two-year Canadian Hockey League career with Rimouski of the QMJHL. It1s the second highest average in league history, behind Mario Lemieux1s 2.81 points per game with Laval, from 1981-84 ... His dad, goalie Troy Crosby, was drafted in the 12th round,
240th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984. He never made it to the pro level ... Sidney went on to live with Lemieux, a part-owner of the Penguins, in his first three NHL seasons ... Crosby became the youngest captain in NHL history when the Penguins gave him the 'C' for his 19-year, nine-month birthday present (give or take a few days). The previous youngest was Vincent Lecavalier, who was a captain at 19 years and 10 months ... Reciprocated by becoming the only teenage scoring champion in NHL history, while also winning the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award, in the 2006-07 season ...

The Penguins media guide lists his nickname as 'Sid.' Nowhere does it mention the origin of the nickname or reveal the creative mind that came up with it ... Steve Yzerman, who was once the youngest captain in NHL history, was his childhood hero ... His favourite food is Chinese ... Music-wise, he digs 3 Doors Down, Three Days Grace and Tim McGraw.

Evgeni Malkin, C
Age: 22
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthplace: Magnitogorsk, Russia
Drafted: 2nd overall, 2004
2008-09 Regular Season: 82 GP, 35 G, 78 A, 113 PTS,
Career Regular Season: 242 GP, 115 G, 189 A, 304 PTS

THE SKINNY: Led the NHL in scoring after finishing second last season to Alex Ovechkin ... Known to friends as Geno ... Boston s TD Banknorth Garden is his favourite road rink ... Lists billiards as his favourite sport, other than hockey, along with soccer ... Likes the Russian band Rouky Viergh.

34Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Sat May 02, 2009 10:28 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Beers are on ice...

35Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Sat May 02, 2009 10:41 am

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
shabbs wrote:Beers are on ice...

Nice!

Cheers

36Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Sat May 02, 2009 7:26 pm

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Stakes higher, but rookie brings it again

By Scott Burnside, ESPN.com Updated: May 2, 2009, 7:04 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- For a young man who had to ask his coach just a few days ago whether there were shootouts in the NHL playoffs and who grew up playing in cut-down pads with no chest protector, Simeon Varlamov has quickly learned the nuances of playoff action.

When you give up a stinker or two, you'd better make the highlight-reel save when it counts. The 21-year-old Varlamov did just that Saturday afternoon, robbing Sidney Crosby in the second period with what must be the save of this postseason, a stick save that kept the game tied at 2 and set the stage for the Washington Capitals' 3-2 victory in the first game of this eagerly anticipated Eastern Conference semifinal series.

With less than two minutes to go in the second, Crosby dropped the puck to linemate Chris Kunitz, who swept to the right toward the Washington goal. As Varlamov moved to challenge him, Kunitz slipped the puck back across the slot to Crosby on the left side, leaving Crosby with an open net. But just as Crosby's shot was set to cross the goal line, Varlamov whirled and caught the puck with the heel of his goalie stick, and the puck stayed out.

"I was stunned. I was like, 'Oh my God.' Just kind of amazed, I guess, taken back," said Capitals forward Brooks Laich. "I saw Crosby shoot it and I was like, 'Oh, that's in,' and he reaches back and just grabs it. The whole bench was kind of just like, 'Whoa, that's our break, let's get going. We've got to smarten up and play better.' Great save. Unreal."

With so much anticipation in advance of this first playoff clash between Crosby and Alex Ovechkin and Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin, one wondered if there would be a kind of lunchbag letdown when they actually got around to playing.

There wasn't.

The Penguins dominated early, controlling the puck and holding a healthy advantage in shots on goal for most of the first half of the first period.

Given the skill set on both sides of this series, there will be long periods in which one team will simply be in command, and then the flow will reverse. It was so on Saturday, as the Capitals held the edge early in the second period.

If it hadn't been for the stellar work by Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, and some bad luck for Ovechkin (he hit a couple of posts and missed another handful of great opportunities), the Caps would have had a sizable lead by the end of the second frame.

Instead, Washington led 2-1 on an Ovechkin power-play goal with the Caps enjoying a two-man advantage late in the first period. With a little more than seven minutes remaining in the second, Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton, not a household name when it comes to scoring, beat Varlamov with a routine shot from the blue line, and you could imagine many in the sold-out Verizon Center looking at one another and saying, "Oh, dear."

For those looking for the "kid can't take the heat" storyline, the Eaton goal would be Exhibit A. The game's first goal by Crosby, a rising shot Varlamov couldn't get his catching glove on, would be Exhibit B. The case was there to be made, the theory being that Varlamov's success against a static New York Rangers team would mean little when he faced a potent offense like the one possessed by the Penguins.

And had he not turned around and made the stop on Crosby, who knows what story this game might have told. But he did make the stop.

"You look at all the great goalies that are in hockey nowadays. No matter where the play is, they never give up. They keep fighting," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.

One never knows what might be lost in tone and tenor when a translator is involved, but Varlamov sounded nothing like a young man who has any self-doubt.

"The first goal could have rattled a 21-year-old goalie and the second goal could have killed a 21-year-old goalie, but this is the playoffs. You can't really dwell on your mistakes. You've got to forget them quickly," Varlamov said through an interpreter. "In games like this, you shouldn't be hard on yourself even after you allow a softie. You don't have the right to be upset too much."

Was his stop on Crosby the biggest of his career?

"I'd say yes," Varlamov said. "It's one of the best, especially when you consider the kind of game it was, NHL playoffs. I haven't made any saves like that before. And the way the game went, it was a very important save because the score was 2-2. If they score the third goal, you don't know how it would go on."

Varlamov said he tried not to think too much about the pressure of facing Crosby, Malkin et al. before Saturday's series opener.

"Oh yeah, the reporters were hyping it up real good, and the first day off, I watched some TV and, gee, I found out a lot about this series," Varlamov said through the interpreter. "But I tried not to watch anything in the next two days and tried to forget and relax."

On the save, Crosby appeared in mid-celebration, although he said after the game he just wanted to make sure the officials reviewed the play.

"I knew his stick was awfully close to the goal line," Crosby said. "When you have an open net like that in a 2-2 tie, don't score, then end up losing 3-2, it's easy to say 'what if.' But you have to forget about it. I'm sure [Varlamov] wanted the second [goal] back. But he forgot about it and came back to make some great saves."

One win does not a series make. Nor does one save necessarily make a win. But on this day, when both teams were looking for that one small crease in the other team's psyche, Varlamov proved to be mentally stronger than perhaps anyone had a right to expect.

"If there were any questions about him trying to handle the pressure before the series, I think he's still the same goaltender he was in the first [series]," said David Steckel, the Capitals' faceoff specialist who scored the Caps' first goal of the day.

"He's calm and collected. He was beat up straight-up and he didn't give up on the play and that's a great edge to have as a player."

As a result of his hard work, Steckel was awarded the team's hard-hat award and, as such, was sporting a construction hat adorned with the numbers of the previous winners. It was handed to him by the previous winner, Sergei Fedorov, and Steckel, in turn, will select the next winner.

Not to quibble with Fedorov's selection, but the hat might have looked just as good sitting on Varlamov's sweaty head.

"In the short time that I've known him, I can't say anything really does [rattle him]. Just for the fact that he is Russian and I don't know what he says half the time," Steckel said. "He's playing his game and he's not letting any of the side stuff affect him and I think that's a smart way to go about it."

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.

37Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Tue May 05, 2009 2:08 am

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
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Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 PitPittsburgh 3, Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 WasWashington 4


123T
PIT1113
WAS0224

Final

7:00 PM ET, May 4, 2009, Verizon Center, Washington, DC

Ovechkin's hat trick eclipses Crosby's as Caps take 2-0 lead

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin's first playoff hat trick was cause for celebration, worthy of so many red caps that Sidney Crosby wanted fans to be told to stop throwing them.

Minutes later, Crosby notched his first postseason hat trick, a consolation prize in a loss. Less than a half-dozen pieces of headgear made it to the ice.

It was a historic night for the NHL. Its two biggest stars -- rivals who don't care for each other -- had their biggest playoff performances head-to-head. Ovechkin claimed the winning hand, breaking a tie with a pair of goals less than 3 minutes apart in the third period Monday night in the Washington Capitals' 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Sick game. Sick three goals by me and Crosby," said Ovechkin, who celebrated by bouncing his body high off the glass after both of his third-period goals. "It's unbelievable to see how fans react, how fans go crazy. The atmosphere right now, it's unbelievable in town. You see all the red, and -- probably I'm afraid to go home right now."

The Eastern Conference semifinal series moves to Pittsburgh for Wednesday's Game 3 with the Capitals leading 2-0.

From 1991-2001, Washington lost five series in which it blew a lead against Pittsburgh, including 2-0 advantages in 1992 and 1996.

But that's ancient history for Alex the Great and Sid the Kid, who quickly realized what a special game they had just played.

"It's nice to score," Crosby said. "But it's better to win. ... I'm sure it's entertaining for people to watch, if I were to look at it from a fan's point of view. As a player, you don't like when the guy on the other team gets a hat trick. That's usually not a good sign."

Ovechkin nailed a one-timer from the left circle that beat Marc-Andre Fleury on a power play with 7:07 left, then skated between the circles before unleashing a slap shot that sailed past Fleury's glove with 4:38 remaining for his third goal of the game and seventh of the postseason.

After the first wave of hats came a second wave, prompting Crosby to speak to the referee about the long delay.

"People kept throwing hats," Crosby said. "And I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop."

Crosby gave the Penguins leads of 1-0 and 2-1. His third goal came on a power play in the final minute after Fleury was pulled for an extra attacker, giving Crosby an NHL-leading eight in the playoffs.

"When you build up hype of superstars playing against each other, and then the superstars play like superstars, it's a neat thing," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.

One star not living up to his hype is Evgeni Malkin, who led the league in points in the regular season. He failed to score for the fifth straight game and committed the tripping penalty that gave Ovechkin the chance to score the go-ahead goal.

"I just go out and play my game," Malkin said. "Sure, need to play better because we're down. I need to score."

David Steckel, who had eight goals in the regular season, got his second of the series and was the only goal-scorer not named Ovechkin or Crosby. Rookie playoff phenom Simeon Varlamov made 33 saves for the Capitals, including a pair of impressive stops during a 5-on-3 power play in the first period.

"It's a battle of the two best players in the league, and tonight both of them carried their teams," Washington defenseman Mike Green said. "We were fortunate we had Alex at the top of his game, and then had some guys like Stecks and these guys that are fourth-line guys pitch in, and that's all it takes to win."

There was no pretense of a loving relationship between the rival teams.

A physical first period included nine penalties and plenty of mini-tussles. Crosby bowled over Green while advancing with the puck in the first minute. The Capitals wasted a chance at a power play when Chris Clark decided to punch Kris Letang in the face after the whistle had stopped play for a Pittsburgh penalty. Ovechkin got sandwiched along the boards and was shoved around whenever possible; he and Chris Kunitz traded blows in period's final minute.

An exchange between Washington's Alexander Semin and Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik resulted in three penalties -- two of them on Semin. The resulting power play produced the game's first goal, when Crosby poked a rebound under Varlamov's left pad.

The goal broke a four-game, 0-for-17 drought for the Penguins' power play.

More rough stuff: Kunitz delivered what Boudreau considered a "vicious" cross-check to Varlamov in the game's final minute.

"We hope the league takes a long look at that," Boudreau said.

Game notes
It was only the second time in Capitals franchise history that two players recorded hat tricks in a game. Washington's Al Iafrate and the New York Islanders' Ray Ferraro did it in a 6-4 Capitals win on April 26, 1993. ... Washington has won five straight playoff games, a franchise record. ... Capitals RW Eric Fehr left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. He is day-to-day. ... Capitals D John Erskine was scratched after taking a shot off his right leg in Game 1. He was replaced by Tyler Sloan, who was called up from Hershey of the AHL earlier Monday and had an assist in his playoff debut. ... Karl Alzner was also promoted from Hershey and was a healthy scratch.

38Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:21 am

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
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Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 WasWashington at Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 PitPittsburgh

GAME THREE, STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EAST SEMIFINAL
CAPITALS LEAD SERIES 2-0

7:00 PM ET, May 6, 2009
Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

CBC/RDS/Versus

Capitals-Penguins Preview

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Evgeni Malkin stepped into the Pittsburgh Penguins' practice rink dressing room, spotted a large group of reporters forming a faceoff circle around his seat and quickly scooted into an adjacent off-limits area without taking any questions.

Malkin is successful on a breakaway again. If only he could do it against the Washington Capitals.

In a playoff series that is all Alex Ovechkin and all Sidney Crosby all the time, Malkin -- the NHL's leading scorer -- is mostly invisible. No goals, no breakaways and nowhere near the offense he produced while totaling 113 points during the season.

It's perhaps the key reason why the Penguins have no victories as they return home for a virtual must-win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, down 2-0 to Washington in a series that is fairly even except for one glaring statistic.

Alex Ovechkin, 4 goals. Sidney Crosby, 4 goals. Evgeni Malkin, 0 goals.

Ovechkin and Crosby, as good as the NHL's signature stars are, probably can't maintain their can-you-top-this pace the rest of the series. If the Penguins are to catch the Capitals -- and they've done it three times before when down two games -- they need Malkin to get back to being Malkin.

Quickly, too, because otherwise the Penguins will trail 3-0 in a series for the first time in 30 years, or since Boston swept them in four games in 1979.

"We can't expect Geno to score every game, it's really a collective effort," Crosby said Tuesday, barely 12 hours since Ovechkin scored the go-ahead goal in Washington's 4-3 victory in Game 2 on a power play created by a Malkin penalty.

"It's up to us to do our part for sure, but I think he's working to get chances. The opportunities are there, but it's the playoffs and it's tight and there's going to be times where it's a little bit difficult."

Like right now.

Malkin isn't alone in the failing-to-support-Sid club: Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz have no goals in eight playoff games. Bill Guerin has scored in only one playoff game. Sergei Gonchar has one goal in 18 games, Petr Sykora one goal in 17.

Still, none of those players means to the Penguins what Malkin does.

"When you start to press for it, that's when it doesn't come," Guerin said. "If nobody else scores and Sid has every single goal the rest of the way and we win, that's good."

The Penguins' Game 3 theme is to keep playing at the same intensity level, constantly pressure rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov and -- sigh of envy -- don't get too caught up in what Ovechkin is doing.

"We don't want to abandon our whole game plan just to take away one player because they've got too many guys who can hurt you," Guerin said.

Similarly, coach Bruce Boudreau warned the Capitals that what they've done so far won't be good enough on the road against a talented team that Crosby promised "will be desperate."

"These guys went to the Stanley Cup finals last year, so the one thing you know is they believe they can win it," Boudreau said. "The minute we let up is the minute we're going to be in trouble."

Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux, who is growing a healthy playoffs beard to match those of his players, knows they can. The Penguins were down 2-0 to Washington in 1992 and 1996 and came back to win each series. They also rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win in 1995.

The one difference is the Penguins possessed the game's signature star -- be it Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr -- in each series. This time, it's Washington who apparently has that player. Ovechkin scored three times in Game 2 on shots so hard and so precise they probably resembled Nolan Ryan fastballs to Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"When you're playing, you're playing well, and he's playing well right now and we're going to have to figure it out," Guerin said.

While the Penguins will rely on desperation, the Capitals might draw motivation from Kunitz's late-game hit on Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov that Boudreau called "pretty vicious." Ovechkin called it worse than that.

"Yeah, I think it's dirty ... it's cheap shot and it's not good for hockey," Ovechkin said. "I can't imagine if he gives him injury. If it's not going to be called, it's going to be a terrible decision and I'll be (mad) about it."

Just what the Penguins don't need, an angry Ovechkin.

"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

39Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:24 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
davetherave wrote:Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 WasWashington at Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 PitPittsburgh

GAME THREE, STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EAST SEMIFINAL
CAPITALS LEAD SERIES 2-0

7:00 PM ET, May 6, 2009
Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

CBC/RDS/Versus

Capitals-Penguins Preview

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Evgeni Malkin stepped into the Pittsburgh Penguins' practice rink dressing room, spotted a large group of reporters forming a faceoff circle around his seat and quickly scooted into an adjacent off-limits area without taking any questions.

Malkin is successful on a breakaway again. If only he could do it against the Washington Capitals.

In a playoff series that is all Alex Ovechkin and all Sidney Crosby all the time, Malkin -- the NHL's leading scorer -- is mostly invisible. No goals, no breakaways and nowhere near the offense he produced while totaling 113 points during the season.

It's perhaps the key reason why the Penguins have no victories as they return home for a virtual must-win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, down 2-0 to Washington in a series that is fairly even except for one glaring statistic.

Alex Ovechkin, 4 goals. Sidney Crosby, 4 goals. Evgeni Malkin, 0 goals.

Ovechkin and Crosby, as good as the NHL's signature stars are, probably can't maintain their can-you-top-this pace the rest of the series. If the Penguins are to catch the Capitals -- and they've done it three times before when down two games -- they need Malkin to get back to being Malkin.

Quickly, too, because otherwise the Penguins will trail 3-0 in a series for the first time in 30 years, or since Boston swept them in four games in 1979.

"We can't expect Geno to score every game, it's really a collective effort," Crosby said Tuesday, barely 12 hours since Ovechkin scored the go-ahead goal in Washington's 4-3 victory in Game 2 on a power play created by a Malkin penalty.

"It's up to us to do our part for sure, but I think he's working to get chances. The opportunities are there, but it's the playoffs and it's tight and there's going to be times where it's a little bit difficult."

Like right now.

Malkin isn't alone in the failing-to-support-Sid club: Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz have no goals in eight playoff games. Bill Guerin has scored in only one playoff game. Sergei Gonchar has one goal in 18 games, Petr Sykora one goal in 17.

Still, none of those players means to the Penguins what Malkin does.

"When you start to press for it, that's when it doesn't come," Guerin said. "If nobody else scores and Sid has every single goal the rest of the way and we win, that's good."

The Penguins' Game 3 theme is to keep playing at the same intensity level, constantly pressure rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov and -- sigh of envy -- don't get too caught up in what Ovechkin is doing.

"We don't want to abandon our whole game plan just to take away one player because they've got too many guys who can hurt you," Guerin said.

Similarly, coach Bruce Boudreau warned the Capitals that what they've done so far won't be good enough on the road against a talented team that Crosby promised "will be desperate."

"These guys went to the Stanley Cup finals last year, so the one thing you know is they believe they can win it," Boudreau said. "The minute we let up is the minute we're going to be in trouble."

Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux, who is growing a healthy playoffs beard to match those of his players, knows they can. The Penguins were down 2-0 to Washington in 1992 and 1996 and came back to win each series. They also rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win in 1995.

The one difference is the Penguins possessed the game's signature star -- be it Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr -- in each series. This time, it's Washington who apparently has that player. Ovechkin scored three times in Game 2 on shots so hard and so precise they probably resembled Nolan Ryan fastballs to Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"When you're playing, you're playing well, and he's playing well right now and we're going to have to figure it out," Guerin said.

While the Penguins will rely on desperation, the Capitals might draw motivation from Kunitz's late-game hit on Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov that Boudreau called "pretty vicious." Ovechkin called it worse than that.

"Yeah, I think it's dirty ... it's cheap shot and it's not good for hockey," Ovechkin said. "I can't imagine if he gives him injury. If it's not going to be called, it's going to be a terrible decision and I'll be (mad) about it."

Just what the Penguins don't need, an angry Ovechkin.

"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."
[b]

looks like Ovie is calling for a sweep, this being playoff hockey, that is just something to motivate the Pingu Squad, that comment will be plastered all over the dressing room in practice and before the game. :gg:

40Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:28 am

shabbs

shabbs
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"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

Indeed he does seem to be calling it in 4... interesting. Certainly bulletin board material for the Pens.

41Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:31 am

SensFan71


All-Star
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shabbs wrote:"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

Indeed he does seem to be calling it in 4... interesting. Certainly bulletin board material for the Pens.

I am glad I am not the only one that sees it, Lemieux should be laminating it as big as he can get it, maybe it will wake up Malkin.

42Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:37 am

Cap'n Clutch

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shabbs wrote:"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

Indeed he does seem to be calling it in 4... interesting. Certainly bulletin board material for the Pens.

Definitely a dumb thing to say and Pittsburgh should jump all over it for motivation however, I personally believe he meant to say after the fourth win and I chalk it up to poor use of the language by a guy who's native language is Russian.

Edit: Actually even if he meant 4th win he still shouldn't have said it because he's calling his team to win the series which he certainly should believe but shouldn't be quoted in a paper to be used as bulletin board material IMO.


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43Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:43 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
Cap'n Clutch wrote:
shabbs wrote:"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

Indeed he does seem to be calling it in 4... interesting. Certainly bulletin board material for the Pens.

Definitely a dumb thing to say and Pittsburgh should jump all over it for motivation however, I personally believe he meant to say after the fourth win and I chalk it up to poor use of the language by a guy who's native language is Russian.

Edit: Actually even if he meant 4th win he still shouldn't have said it because he's calling his team to win the series which he certainly should believe but shouldn't be quoted in a paper to be used as bulletin board material IMO.

If the Pens come back and win this series, we will all definitely come back to that comment and say this is where Pittsburgh stole the momentum, then Ovie will learn to keep his thoughts in the dressing room and away from the media.

44Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:48 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Cap'n Clutch wrote:
shabbs wrote:"We want to move forward," Ovechkin said. "After the fourth game, there'll be a little celebration, but right now, nothing."

Indeed he does seem to be calling it in 4... interesting. Certainly bulletin board material for the Pens.

Definitely a dumb thing to say and Pittsburgh should jump all over it for motivation however, I personally believe he meant to say after the fourth win and I chalk it up to poor use of the language by a guy who's native language is Russian.

Edit: Actually even if he meant 4th win he still shouldn't have said it because he's calling his team to win the series which he certainly should believe but shouldn't be quoted in a paper to be used as bulletin board material IMO.
Yeah, I was thinking he could have meant 4th win as well, but still, you don't say that to the press. Believe it, rally your team around it... but don't call it out in the press.

45Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 8:55 am

davetherave

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Gang, Ovie means...if and when they win four games...

Remember...he's speaking 'Russglish'.

46Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 9:02 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
davetherave wrote:Gang, Ovie means...if and when they win four games...

Remember...he's speaking 'Russglish'.

I doubt that is what Blysma is telling his Pens though, even perceived c0ckiness can get you in trouble, this is playoff hockey however, all the chips are down and what you say, can and will get used against you on the ice Laughing3

47Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 11:01 am

Cronie

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My thoughts exactly. And quite frankly, trash talking and such is the norm.

And SF, speaking on ice retribution: every time Kunitz is on the ice, mark my words, watch for #8 to come cruisin'!

48Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Page 3 Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh on Wed May 06, 2009 11:06 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
Cronie wrote:My thoughts exactly. And quite frankly, trash talking and such is the norm.

And SF, speaking on ice retribution: every time Kunitz is on the ice, mark my words, watch for #8 to come cruisin'!

oh yeah you are right, I never even thought of that one, this series is going to get real nasty real quick. :fight: :fighting:

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