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SCP '09 GAME OF THE NIGHT: SATURDAY MAY 9--PITTSBURGH AT WASHINGTON, 7PM ET

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davetherave

davetherave
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SCP '09 GAME OF THE NIGHT: SATURDAY MAY 9--PITTSBURGH AT WASHINGTON, 7PM ET PitPittsburgh at SCP '09 GAME OF THE NIGHT: SATURDAY MAY 9--PITTSBURGH AT WASHINGTON, 7PM ET WasWashington

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EAST SEMIFINALS
SERIES TIED 2-2

7:00 PM ET, May 9, 2009
Verizon Center, Washington, DC

CBC/RDS/Versus

Penguins-Capitals Preview

FROM ESPN.COM/STATS LLC
http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=290509023

The feeling of a playoff series slipping away to the Pittsburgh Penguins is starting to feel awfully familiar to the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals will try to stop Pittsburgh's momentum on Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series, less than 24 hours after the Penguins evened it at home.

The Penguins are coming off a 5-3 victory on Friday in Pittsburgh -- and may have gotten into rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov's head at the same time.

After trailing 1-0 just 36 seconds in, Sergei Gonchar, Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko scored in an 11 1/2-minute span to make it 3-1 at the end of one period.

Sidney Crosby added his team-high ninth playoff goal, and Max Talbot also found the back of the net in the third period.

"We're right back in it and we have momentum on our side and we'll try to keep it going," said the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 19 shots.

Nicklas Backstrom, Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina tallied the Capitals goals. Alex Ovechkin was held to an assist after scoring five goals in the first three games.

"Alex is only human, he can't be unbelievable every night. He's a great player, he just had one of those nights where he's not going to get three goals," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.

This scenario has been played out before between these clubs.

Pittsburgh was down 2-0 in a playoff series to Washington in 1992 before prevailing in seven games. The Penguins also lost the first two games to the Caps in 1996 before moving on in six.

"We said we've got to get two at home and now we've got to try to get one on the road," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said.

That may be difficult. Varlamov has been particularly competitive at home in the playoffs, winning four straight after dropping his debut, all while posting a 1.41 goals-against average there.

The 21-year-old has allowed a total eight goals in two straight losses. He had permitted only nine in a six-game playoff winning streak before that.

"There were four soft goals out of the five," Boudreau said. "But he'll bounce back. He's a real competitive guy."

Though the series is knotted up, both teams have major concerns heading into what now is essentially a best-of-3. First, is a short turnaround.

No teams in any playoff series this season has had to play on consecutive nights.

Three events in an eight-day stretch at Mellon Arena -- a Yanni concert, WWE card and Dane Cook show -- forced the schedule juggling.

"It is a shame that both teams will have to play back to back games ... because the Pittsburgh building -- against NHL rules -- booked a series of concerts and forced the league to alter the playoff schedule," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote recently on his blog. "This is bad for the league, both fan bases and for the players.

Last year, the Caps played on successive days in their opening-round series against Philadelphia and lost Game 7 in Washington, 3-2 in overtime, a day after winning on the road.

In a statement, Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer echoed Leonsis' concerns but offered no apologies.

"We agree ... that it is unfortunate when you have to play back-to-back in the playoffs," the statement said. "However, it has happened before, it is sometimes unavoidable, and it impacts both teams equally."

A bigger concern is the health of Gonchar, the Penguins' top offensive defenseman.

He may not be able to play after being leveled by a knee-to-knee hit from Ovechkin late in the first period that several Penguins players labeled as dirty.

Gonchar -- a 2006 Russian Olympic teammate of Ovechkin -- couldn't put any weight on his injured leg as he was assisted off the ice.

"I just tried to move him and I hit him, he turned to move to his left and, I don't know, I don't have time to realize what's going on and he hit my knee," Ovechkin said. "I think it was an accident. I'm not the kind of player who wants to injure guys, especially ones I know like Gonch."

Game 6 is scheduled for Monday night in Pittsburgh.

davetherave

davetherave
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Win comes at a price for Pens
Controversial hit may sideline Gonchar


Friday, May 08, 2009, Paul Hunter/The Toronto Star

PITTSBURGH-A remarkable playoff series that has unfolded like a sweeping narrative added more plot twists last night as two of the key players are now broken men; one physically and one emotionally.

Pittsburgh defenceman Sergei Gonchar is likely finished for the post-season with a knee injury after a knee-on-knee hit delivered by Washington superstar Alexander Ovechkin, a blow that left the Penguins fuming.

Meanwhile, Capitals' sensational rookie netminder Simeon Varlamov is undoubtedly rattled after looking stunningly mortal for the first time this post-season as Pittsburgh pulled out a crucial 5-3 win to even the series at two games each, with Game 5 tonight at Washington.

Off the ice, the emotions, if possible, have been ratcheted even higher, as at least one of the Penguins is accusing Ovechkin of trying to intentionally injure his teammates.

"It definitely looked like (Ovechkin) stuck his leg out at (Gonchar)," said Pittsburgh defenceman Brooks Orpik.

"Sometimes when guys jump out of the way it's a reaction thing, but it was the same thing he did with me last game. You can run guys and guys are fair game, but (Ovechkin) takes countless strides every time and leaves his feet a lot of times, too, so to us, we've got the feeling that he's really trying to hurt guys at times. Hopefully the league takes action on him."

Ovechkin, who had another unremarkable night, collided with Gonchar in the first period when he had him lined up for a check in the corner.

As he swept in on the Penguin, Gonchar tried to jump out of the way and Ovechkin's right knee came out slightly. The two banged together and went down but only Ovechkin got up; Gonchar lay on the ice in pain and had to be helped off the ice. He couldn't put any weight on his right leg as he made his way to the dressing room. Ovechkin received a tripping minor.

Later, Ovechkin maintained his innocence, saying he "didn't want to hurt" Gonchar, but he couldn't change his direction as the defenceman tried to get out of his way.

"It was an accident. I'm not the kind of player who wants to injure guys like this, especially I know (Gonchar) and I wouldn't hit him like this," said Ovechkin.
"I tried to hit him with my shoulder and he just moved left."

Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he expects the league to review the hit.

Ovechkin said the incident is now out of his hands.

"I don't know what will happen," he said.

If there is some reason for Pittsburgh optimism in the loss of Gonchar, one of the best power-play quarterbacks in the league, it is that the deep Penguins played without him much of the season while he recovered from shoulder surgery. They posted a 27-24-5 record in his absence.

While Bylsma said he is waiting for a full medical report on Gonchar, his teammates clearly expect to play on without him.

"We have to just find a way to be productive without him," said captain Sidney Crosby. "We have no choice right now."

Meanwhile, the Caps have to hope that Varlamov can recover from his ugly night.

The 21-year-old who carried Washington past the Rangers in the first round gave up five goals on 28 shots.

The numbers were bad enough but several of the goals were softies, the worst a floater from just inside the blueline that he flubbed with his catching glove. That gifted Ruslan Fedotenko with the goal that put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 late in the first period.

"He struggled. He's human," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said of his young netminder. "He hasn't had a bad game. Arguably there were four soft goals out of the five. But he'll bounce back. He's a real competitive guy."

How Varlamov responds to a bad game is an unknown factor but we should find out tonight as Boudreau said he expected him to start.

As for Ovechkin, whether he gets a chance to bounce back tonight will now be determined by the NHL's front office.

shabbs

shabbs
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So Gonchar's a no go, any word on any discipline for Ovie?

caissie_1

caissie_1
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Veteran
No word so far... He will play.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Gonchar to miss several weeks!

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=278120

Maybe even the rest of the season.

Yikes.

And no discipline for Ovie.

caissie_1

caissie_1
Veteran
Veteran
Big blow to the Pen's.... That's gonna hurt.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Is it ironic for the Pens to be crying about the "special treatment" Ovie is getting with Crosby on their team?

davetherave

davetherave
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shabbs wrote:Is it ironic for the Pens to be crying about the "special treatment" Ovie is getting with Crosby on their team?

Which Pens are 'crying', and what 'special treatment' does Crosby get?

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote:Is it ironic for the Pens to be crying about the "special treatment" Ovie is getting with Crosby on their team?

Which Pens are 'crying', and what 'special treatment' does Crosby get?
My bad... it's JP Barry... Gonchar's rep.

But still. You know what I'm saying.

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
shabbs wrote:
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote:Is it ironic for the Pens to be crying about the "special treatment" Ovie is getting with Crosby on their team?

Which Pens are 'crying', and what 'special treatment' does Crosby get?
My bad... it's JP Barry... Gonchar's rep.

But still. You know what I'm saying.

It's certainly logical for Gonchar's agent to make statement supporting his client, isn't it?

This is a potentially serious injury--and we still haven't been told its exact nature--at an extremely critical time.

Meanwhile, here is the latest from the Penguins' NHL site:

Head coach Dan Bylsma updated the media on defenseman Sergei Gonchar's status following his knee-to-knee collision with Alex Ovechkin last night. The report was more optimistic than originally thought and Gonchar has not been ruled out for tonight's Game 5 contest in Washington.

"We evaluated him and continue to evaluate him," Bylsma said. "It's more or less how he's going to respond. The swelling has not been significant but it's going to be day-to-day, game-time (decision) for Sergei. He's not doing as bad as we thought and it will be game-time as far as our decisions with our lineup."

If Gonchar plays, Bylsma said he would consider dressing seven defensemen in the contest as an insurance policy. The Penguins also recalled blueliner
Alex Goligoski from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.



Last edited by davetherave on Sat May 09, 2009 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Hilarious.

"He's out weeks!!!!"

"He's playing tonight!!!!"

Round and round we go.

davetherave

davetherave
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All-Star
shabbs wrote:Hilarious.

"He's out weeks!!!!"

"He's playing tonight!!!!"

Round and round we go.

That's what you get for relying on TSN :^^^^:

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote:Hilarious.

"He's out weeks!!!!"

"He's playing tonight!!!!"

Round and round we go.

That's what you get for relying on TSN :^^^^:
Welcome to the playoffs...

*cough* Schneider *cough*

Nasty Nas

Nasty Nas
Rookie
Rookie
oh man sweet Goligoski has been called up. Gonchar is a huge loss
but the powerplay has been playing like crap anyways so some fresh
faces could work out well in the short term.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Nasty Nas wrote:oh man sweet Goligoski has been called up. Gonchar is a huge loss
but the powerplay has been playing like crap anyways so some fresh
faces could work out well in the short term.
FACT: Goligoski's first NHL goal came against the Ottawa Senators. Auld was in net.

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