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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Game Recap: Capitals 6 - Penguins 3

Just when you thought the season couldn't get any worse for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it did.

The Washington Capitals defeated the Penguins 6-3 tonight at Mellon Arena. Alexander Ovechkin had two goals and an assist as the Caps won their second game in Pittsburgh this year.

The bigger story is that Rob Scuderi, Maxime Talbot and Sidney Crosby all left the game with injuries and did not return.

The Penguins started off strong but were completely overwhelmed by the Capitals in the second half of the game. Washington had 31 shots in the last two periods and totaled 42 on the night. The Penguins had 29.

Evgeni Malkin, Miroslav Satan and Ryan Whitney scored for the Penguins. Whitney's goal was his first of the season.

The officiating in this game was especially poor. I'm not blaming the refs for the loss in any way, as that's never cool. The better team won tonight. Besides, there were bad calls against both teams tonight.

Donald Brashear was given a double minor for high sticking when replays clearly showed it was Eric Godard's stick that hit Kris Letang in the mouth, not Brashear's. Later in the game Matt Cooke was given a penalty for thinking about hitting Alex Ovechkin, but pulling up. Hal Gill was also penalized because composite sticks break easily. Petr Sykora received a penalty for high sticking that no one actually saw happen. The refs also missed several blatant calls against both teams.

The Washington Capitals, especially Ovechkin, really know how to get under your skin. They celebrate every goal like it's a Cup winner and mock their opponents endlessly. It just makes them that much more infuriating to lose against. The Penguins have really grown to hate the Capitals and it's mostly Ovechkin's doing.

This was a bad loss for the Penguins. As the injuries mounted the Pens completely forgot their defensive system and fell apart. They were neck-and-neck with the Capitals for a period and a half. Then the Caps started pulling away. By the end it was all Caps.

But the injuries could spell the end of the Penguins' season if they are serious.

Rob Scuderi blocked a shot with his head in the first. He might have a concussion. Hopefully he doesn't miss much time. Max Talbot had his hand skated over by Ovechkin and Crosby left the ice favouring his left leg.

Crosby's injury is the most concerning. Not only because he's the team captain, but due to his history of leg injuries (i.e. last year's high ankle sprain.) Scuderi will be seriously missed on the blue line as well. He is without a doubt the Penguins' best defender. I can't see them winning many games without him in the line-up.

The Penguins are in tough now. They are still out of the playoffs and their schedule doesn't get any easier.

It's going to be a battle every step of the way.

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