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Friday, January 16, 2015

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Anaheim Ducks
@Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA
Penguins Record: 21-19-4 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Flyers Record: 27-14-3 (2nd in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting:
October 16th, 2008 @ Pittsburgh (4-3 Caps)

Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Chris Minard - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Maxime Talbot - Miroslav Satan
Paul Bissonnette - Dustin Jeffrey - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Ryan Whitney
Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Hal Gill

Marc-Andre Fleury (13-10-2 / 2.93 GAA / .905 SV%)

Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) - on injured reserve
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve
Pascal Dupuis (knee) - day-to-day, will miss tonight's game

GOALS: Evgeni Malkin (17)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (49)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (66)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+15)

Alex Ovechkin - Sergei Fedorov - Viktor Kozlov
Brooks Laich - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann - Michael Nylander - Chris Clark
Donald Brashear - Dave Steckel - Matt Bradley

Mike Green - John Erskine
Shaone Morrisonn - Jeff Schultz
Milan Jurcina - Karl Alzner

Brent Johnson (11-6-2 / 2.75 GAA / .909 SV%)

Brian Pothier (post-concussion syndrome) - on injured reserve
Tom Poti (groin) - on injured reserve
Boyd Gordon (back spasms) - day-to-day, questionable for tonight's game

GOALS: Alex Ovechkin (27)
ASSISTS: Niklas Backstrom (33)
POINTS: Alex Ovechkin (54)
+/-: Alexander Semin (+21)

I think the Washington/Pittsburgh rivalry from the 90s is back.

First you have Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin exchanging comments.

They you have Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin showing an obvious dislike for one another.

If this were a playoff series it would be every dream the NHL has coming true.

The Penguins are coming off an impressive victory over the Flyers last night. The Capitals played last night as well, but with less success, losing 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers.

This is another game the Penguins have to win. To be honest, they have to win a lot of their remaining games if they want to see the playoffs from anywhere other than their living rooms.

The good news for the Penguins is that it looks like the Capitals have finally cooled down a bit. They've lost their last three games after winning 14 of their previous 16 games. The Penguins will need to continue to play the system that brought them success last night. They will need to keep playing that system until the confidence and hard work that took them to last year's Stanley Cup Final returns.

Ovechkin will no doubt continue to play a physical style against Malkin. Hopefully having Matt Cooke back on the first line will eliminate any further rough stuff. That being said, they Penguins cannot allow themselves to retaliate and get into penalty trouble. Washington has a very dangerous power play.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh power play will definitely need to be better. It seems recently that the Penguins play their worst with the man advantage. If the Capitals get frustrated and play too rough the Penguins will need to be able to make them pay on the score sheet by scoring power play goals. If the Penguins power play is ineffective teams will continue to take liberties with them knowing there will be no consequences.

A win tonight would put the Penguins back into the eighth spot in the conference, as Carolina is idle. A Buffalo loss will definitely help as well. Not that it matters where the Pens are in the standings tomorrow, but they need to take every chance they have to gain ground.

It should be a good game tonight. Hopefully the Penguins remember how to win at Mellon Arena. They've lost six of their last eight at home. Those two wins came against the Thrashers and Islanders, who aren't exactly power houses.

Prediction: 4-2 Penguins
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