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Caps 5, Penguins 2

The Capitals bounced back from their stinker of a loss to Colorado on Friday with a dominant showing against Pittsburgh this afternoon that further illustrated how the tide may be turning in the rivalry between the two clubs. Washington snapped Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak that dated back to Dec. 11, 2006 at Verizon Center with the win that also marked the first time since the 2002-2003 season that the Capitals have won the season series with the Penguins.

And another change, is that there was no questioning which team had the dominant fan base in Verizon Center. While there were a few black and gold sweaters, they were washed out by a vocal contingent of Capitals red.

"Everything has peaks and valleys," Boudreau said. "We've won three, but I don't think it's changing unless we win seven or eight in a row. As long as they have those two guys (Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby) on their team it's going to be tough to do."

*The rivalry was alive and well though, that's for sure. Alex Ovechkin and Crosby got into a few shouting and shoving matches, and the game was physical overall. The Caps dished out 34 hits while the Penguins racked up 46.

*Here's Crosby's take on one particular instance when he and Ovechkin got tangled up by the benches in the second period.

"I was skating to the bench and he pushed me from behind so I gave him a shot back," Crosby said. "That's hockey and he likes to run around these days. That was it."

Boudreau was also asked why the two seemed a little more up-close and personal today:

"Well (Crosby) started it," Boudreau said. "Sidney was jarring at everybody every time you come off. You see our bench talking to him, him talking to our bench and I think he was getting frustrated because he wasn't getting the freedom he had in this building before."

*Alexander Semin earned the hard hat today and was a noticeable factor throughout the contest after being held without a point in two consecutive games for the first time this season. Semin is the only Capital to record a goal in each of the three games against Pittsburgh this season. It was also his 12th multiple-point game of the year.

"He had (two) points and could have had 8. He was into the game," Boudreau said. "I think he was a little more determined today and when he's determined you can see his skill level is as good as anybody's. We've just got to get him to lower his sights a little on the net and he'd get two or three every night."

*Sergei Fedorov recorded his first multi-point game in eight contests with an assist and the game-winning goal against the Penguins. His goal from the high slot came after Semin made a nice play to steal the puck from Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal at the blue line.

"We forecheck together and Semin read it very well," Fedorov said. "(He) step up and cover the blue line and I knew he might pass to me so I just support him and then he give it to me. After that I don't remember much. I just swing at the puck and fire away."

*Fedorov now has four points (1G, 3A) in the past four games. "He looked good today," Boudreau said. "The more Sergei plays, the stronger he gets. We need that offensive second line center that he brings to the game. The intangibles he brings every night and when he's on top of his game like that he's a pretty good player still."

*Shaone Morrisonn recorded his second goal in the last four games, and Eric Fehr now has 11 points (6G, 5A) in his past 11 games thanks to his assist on Morrisonn's tally.

*Today marked the Caps eighth consecutive home sellout, matching the club record for consecutive sellouts in one season. Fifteen of the past 16 games have been sold out. The Caps have won 13 straight at home against Eastern Conference opponents.

*With the win, this year's Capitals the best record through 60 games in franchise history at 38-17-5. The 1984-85 team held the previous mark at 36-16-8 and the Caps are 21 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1985-86 season when they finished 50-23-7.

*I'll leave the closing comments to Donald Brashear:

"We always want to beat those guys," he said. "We might face them down the road in the playoffs so we want to put in their minds that they can't beat us. That's the spirit you've got to have and you've got to have the killer instinct. If it were us that was down there, I'm sure they would want to push us out of the way and we are just trying to do the same thing. Every time we play a team, we're playing to win and we want to push every team that we can out of the playoffs."

By Katie Carrera  |  February 22, 2009; 4:52 PM ET
 
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Next: Ovechkin vs. Crosby: It's Back!

Comments

was it too early to drink? yes. Did I do it anyway. of course.
refs=sucked
Brash=awesome
Someone needs to punch Crosby in the face, especially in the mouth. THat guy is a punk. I think he has too much pressure on him, i think he's a phenomenal talent, but he's a whiny little beeatch and needs a thrashing.
The refs were thoroughly in the penguins pocket. Brash gets boarded, no call, crosschecked in the back, players get roughed up and the Caps go into the box. I call BS. Trips, interference, roughing, boarding, ripping, all no calls, while Fedorov is sent to the box for phantom holds. They did everything they could to give the pens a chance to get back into the game.
I dont like Nylander on the top line. At all.

Posted by: oo7 | February 22, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

cool

Posted by: QuintenD | February 22, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It was funny how no one on the Pens came to Help cindy when he was challenged. Tells you all you need to know about his leadership.

Posted by: RichC3 | February 22, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I think I have a good name for the goal the other night against Montreal....."The Sequel"......any other ideas?

Posted by: RichC3 | February 22, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering: if Cindy got gobsmacked in the face and broke his nose and lost a few teeth, would NBC try to replace him as the face of the NHL? I don't think I even noticed him on the ice unless the announcers pointed him out. *snicker*

Go Semin! Go Ovi! Go Feds! Go ShaMo!

Someone else fill out my missing shout-outs for our 5 goals today please. (insert smiley-face here)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 22, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Man I could only watch the last four minutes. You can only imagine the expectations/fears when I tuned it... to find out we were winning 5-2... I let out a YES that my neighbors noticed.

How did everybody played? It seems that Theo could have done better on the first two... but he also made some good saves? Seems also like was Semin's game? Overall the Caps came out strong? Did they dominate them?

I saw a couple of sick moves by OVI - I wonder if that will calm down my stubborn Pens fan colleague that still thinks Malkin is better.

Posted by: mauree | February 22, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, Nylander on the top line is temporary...when Kozlov gets back in the line up, Nyls goes back to the 3rd line...or the pressbox.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | February 22, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey RichC3...
I like it.
The Sequel has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: pmoravek | February 22, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Well that was a hoot! We sure are a lucky bunch of fans, eh? :-) I was trying to keep an eye on Crosby to see if I could get a better understand first hand of why he gets so much more love than Ovi and, I have to say, I still don't get it. He was such a non-issue that it was hard to even keep an eye on him. Not to say that he is not talented, but her certainly is not Ovi, and he did not bring it at all today. Speaking of not bringing it, I have never been a Nyls hater, but I was not his biggest fan today. I hope he moves back (or off) for Tuesday's game. Regardless, I can't wait until Tue!!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Who else was just absolutely shocked when Milbury and Macquire mentioned the idea of OV co-existing with Crosby as the "face" of the NHL?
Usually the Canadian media is pretty biased. (see All Star voting fiasco)
I think its awesome that OV is finally getting the press he deserves.
(Nationally that is, Wapo has always been kind to him...but he's our boy, isn't he?)

Posted by: pmoravek | February 22, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Cindy was definitely more focused on jawing with our players than he was trying to help his team win. He is a little pest. Brooks barely ever chirps at other players, but he did today with Cindy, I wonder why.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 22, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the hit by Orpik on Brash was clean. Tough, but clean. As Brash challenged Orpik right after the hit, I thought Orpik was a bit of a wimp for skating away from it, though. Overall, our boys skated with confidence and played a pretty passing game. Every goal was set up beautifully. Crappy penalties... some deserved, some by near-sighted refs. Bruce may have been shaking his head on that, but hopefully was happy with the penalty-kill. They looked great!

Posted by: gonchpup | February 22, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boo,
I think it is tough trying to find a spot for Nyls where he isn't a "hole" in the lineup. He just doesn't seem to mesh with anybody. Maybe WE should sign Jagr?
(JK Ted...sorry)

Thoughts?

Posted by: pmoravek | February 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

tampa bay up 2-1 on boston....carolina is about to win. we catch boston and pens get farther away from the playoffs!!! I think nyls was on the first line to help showcase him so we can try and move him. not sure it helped though.

Posted by: CapsSkins | February 22, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

mauree: The first goal given up was off a juicy rebound Theo gave up, the second goal by Gonchar, like many have said, was pretty much unstoppable. Semin had a great game, especially on the PK, intercepting passes and creating chances at the other end, he was awesome. I think after Shaone scored, we pretty much dominated because before that the Pens were still in it at 3-2. As always, too many penalties (although PK was good) but take into consideration that the refs were BAD and missed a ton of calls on the Pens. You missed a lot of Cindy jawing at everyone... Brooks, Ovie, it was pretty funny, especially when Ovie waved goodbye to Cindy, Cindy looked like he was about to cry, no suprise there.

And whatever that guy's name that called the game, his voice is SO weird/unpleasant. I like Joe B and Locker much better. Can't wait for Tuesday's game, it's gonna be so AWESOME! Go CAPS!

Posted by: rachel216 | February 22, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

CapsSkins I was getting ready to yell at you for counting unhatched chickens when I heard from the other room "Score! Boston ties it up at 2."

Jerk.

Posted by: notfadeaway | February 22, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Dang it, 2-2 now Boston and Tampa.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 22, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, check this out on NHL's site from Associated Press. It nails Cindy: "Crosby and the Penguins actually have a bigger problem. After dominating the Capitals early in the Ovechkin-Crosby era, Washington is now firmly putting Pittsburgh in the rearview mirror...
Ovechkin's goal capped some fluid puck movement by his teammates on the power play. …Crosby, meanwhile, had to settle for one assist - on Gonchar's goal - and some raw feelings afterward." Ha ha!

Posted by: caraveli | February 22, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

awwww....does baby need his bottle? or should i just call you Cindy? i love all the power you grant me with though!

Posted by: CapsSkins | February 22, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Rachel you're right. For some reason, Doc Emerick has been a U.S. hockey staple for 20 years. I don't know why NBC uses and old creepy guy to help promote a fast, exciting game.

He's also the genius who explained to America that Verizon Center was "about 50/50" Caps fans-Flyers fans in the playoffs last year.

Give me back my Gary Thorne.

Posted by: notfadeaway | February 22, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

notfadeaway:

Yeah, that's his name! He's voice is so unpleasant, right? And yes, I remember that 50/50 comment last year, man, was he blind or what? Crazy old man.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 22, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

great piece
http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2008020887
"If he wants to do something like hit me again, try to hit me again - and I'll talk to you guys (about) who plays dirty," Ovechkin said. lol!

Posted by: minicoop828 | February 22, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Second period just started...Go Bolts, Beat the Bruins...Halpern almost just scored.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 22, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, hockey weekend. Two out of three ain't bad.

Friday night was an absolute disgusting stinker. I'm tempted to think the boys didn't know what to do with a puck that didn't roll for once, but a lot of missed passes and sloppy play.

Watched practice Sat morning. It was indeed hard, fast, and brutal, as expected. Bruce had every line run every drill until they got it right, sometimes three or four times. Good, because it appears to have paid off in today's game. A lot less sloppy. They need to do that more often.

Saturday night found a bunch of us in Hershey for the Bears game, and that was an absolute blast. After falling behind early, Woods pulled Machesney early in the second after he allows 3 goals in 13 shots, and put in Kris Mayotte. Bears came from behind 4-2 at the beginning of the third to tie it up and then score with about 4 seconds left in overtime. Exciting game all the way, and Kris Mayotte was the goalie of record so got his first win.

Then ... today. How much fun was that?! Much cleaner and prettier on our part, and Pitt's power play couldn't find its collective rear with both hands and a map against our PK.

I just hope that we can do that clean and pretty tape-to-tape-pass thing more often and consistently heading into the playoff stretch. When we're precise and focused, we're scary. When we're not, we get stomped.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 22, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Crosby seemed like he was more worried about tryna look tough than playin hockey. refs were horrible, but i guess they didnt make some of those calls because it was 5-2. Go Caps!

Posted by: T-ROB | February 22, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

This was my first Caps game in a long time, and I had an absolute blast.

I just have one question right now - why was everyone "hooting" at Gonchar? I know he was on the Caps once (right?) but I didn't get the motive behind the noises...

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but why do we even have Brash on the team. Ovie got roughed up, Semin got run, and Brash did nothing. Ovie may not need protection, but he should get it anyway. Anyone who goes after Ovie should have to face Brash. When is the last time he even tried to protect someone on the Caps? All he does if fight the other teams enforcer, big deal!

Posted by: majiksea | February 22, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

An exclamation point to end the weekend!

That's how you respond to a mulligan/stinker/clunker of a game from Friday night.

Great team effort. It truly is amazing how much of a cry baby/mouth runner Crosby is. Make no mistake the guy has world class hockey talent but shut the hell up - nut up and play hockey. Take the losing like a man.

The Caps just need to keep rolling. They were awesome today - but you have to be even better on Tuesday with Philly coming to town. A great effort. It's time to get this train rolling again.

Broadstreet Bullies looming on the horizon. Ice Breakers Goal Shakers. :)

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 22, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Semin gets the hard hat despite 2 dumb penalties? 2 of NINE the team took? OK.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to beat Pittsburgh, but it would have been nice to see this on Friday, and there's still room to improve before the Philly game.

Posted by: Section117 | February 22, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Martha Barnaby + Skill = Cindy Crosby

Posted by: mc2884 | February 22, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Johnathan, Crosby can't take it like a man cause he's still a little boy.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 22, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Worst player for the Caps today was Nylander. Also looks like Fehr isn't doing much out there. Green played well today as did Erskine. Our blueline in general played well except for Schultz again. Kronwall needs to replace him and we'll be a better team for it. Nice to see Ovechkin and Crosby going at it, its good for the rivalry :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 22, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Semin gets the hard hat despite 2 dumb penalties? 2 of NINE the team took? OK.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to beat Pittsburgh, but it would have been nice to see this on Friday, and there's still room to improve before the Philly game.

Posted by: Section117 | February 22, 2009 6:31 PM

Semin I think got the hardhat because he started to play well in the 3rd period on the PK. He made some nice intercepts even though he missed the net each time. But I agree, he didn't deserve the hardhat award. He had two lousy turnovers within the same minute on one PK that had our defensemen scrambling back to stop scoring chances. Semin's too fancy when he needs to just dump the puck in sometimes. When you're on the PK you don't screw around with that puck, you either dump it down the ice and clear it or you make the safe pass. You don't try and stickhandle through traffic because you'll lose the damn puck more often than not. He plays the PK the same way he plays even-strength and then Bruce wonders why his PK unit stinks.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 22, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

i like how people still ask why people "hoot" gonchar.

can you say BANDWAGON?

Posted by: puckheaded1 | February 22, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Didnt anyone see Ovie 9 shots today. I love it that he always is putting that puck on the net.

Posted by: mc2884 | February 22, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Emrick saying that the building was "50/50" last year in the playoffs was no surprise, as he called Flyers games for years. I'm all for someone else taking over as the national voice.

As for the "hooting" at games, the first person I remember getting the "woop woop" mock cheer in the past was Larry Murphy in the late 80s. Kevin Hatcher used to get it, too. So did Jagr. Basically, it's just a sign of disrespect from the fans. All of the above players were considered soft and were considered disappointments who lacked heart by the time they left town. So, they get the "woop woop" heckle whenever they touch the puck.

Posted by: af2000 | February 22, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

So I went to add a comment, and saw that oo7 said, well, exactly what I was going to write.
Oh well, I'll just reiterate:
Circles was useless on the top line. No real surprise there.
Crysby needs to take one (or 5) from Brash - hopefully it'd jostle his brains around enough to make him a somewhat tolerable human being. Enough with the whining - you play HOCKEY. Man up, biatch.
Don't know what the refs were doing - in the immortal words of my favorite drunk fan in 408, "Refs, you like little boys."
I live that Nickie's playing more physically - he's really starting to come into his own.
Finally Brooksie's on a line where he can actually work! He was great today.

Posted by: smccloskey2 | February 22, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It's not Emrick that's the problem, it's Olczyk. He is such a massive Penguins fan he forgets that they fired him a couple of years ago!

For a Penguins goal, he gets really animated during the replay about how great a play it was by the Penguins; for another team (Caps or anyone else) he says nothing at all.

It's terrible. He rarely has anything nice to say about anyone playing the Penguins - like he only says something nice as a favor to the Caps - this afternoon he waited until five minutes after the game to say "impressive win by the Capitals."

I didn't hear the "Caps Fans/Flyers Fans 50/50" comment from him, but in general I like Emrick, especially when he calls the Devils games. I think he gets stuck on NBC dealing with two motor-mouths who love to hear themselves talk - at least McGuire has smart things to say, and recognizes the crowd and atmosphere! I would bin Olczyk and let McGuire and Emrick handle the games - Emrick is much better when he can get into the flow of the game.

Though admittedly today Emrick was off too. He was talking about Russians in the NHL during a Caps 3-on-2, and rarely said anything when the puck was in the neutral zone.

Tarik - it's not a change that Caps fans outnumbered Penguins fans. Even in the early 90s, there were always more Caps fans - 60/40 was the closest it ever got IMHO. Today, it sounded like 95/5 (though you couldn't tell much b/c NBC muted the crowd out for some dumb reason!)

Refs were awful today. Talbot could have shot Brashear in the head with a shotgun and Brash would have been given a delay-of-game penalty for falling to the ice.

Posted by: guiliano89 | February 22, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked, we should ALL be celebrating the win today. 5 to 2 sounds pretty damn good. Why are we even bothering with nitpicking what went wrong? A lot went right today and for those who still insist on finding something wrong with him, Semin did a lot more right today, so I'd lay off of him. Look forward to the game this Tuesday (?) already!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 22, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Why are we even bothering with nitpicking what went wrong?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 22, 2009 9:00 PM

Because things DID go wrong. I know that people are overjoyed and all, but the same kind of fretting that was done over a loss to the 15th seed in the West a couple of days ago should be done to the 10th seed in the East, regardless of who it is.

I cheered. I had my free beers at Chophouse. Now I want to know how things like a Too Many Men call on a friggin' PK will not happen again in the future.

Posted by: Section117 | February 22, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Section117, you won't know and to be quite honest, we can nitpick all we want. Last I checked, none of us suit up. None of us are being paid to play. None of us have business cards printed with the titles "Head Coach" or "General Manager" on them.

We're entitled to our opinions but when would we have time to celebrate? To enjoy the good things that happen when the Caps are on their game? Between rightfully being pi$$ed about losses, now you guys want to dwell on the mistakes that will naturally happen in a game that don't cost us a game? Sounds kinda' lame.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 23, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

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