Game by game. Period by period. Shift by shift. The Washington Capitals have progressively improved their play all year.
Granted, we are only three games in, but if Monday nights victory is any indication of what lies ahead, the Capitals are in good hands.
The team was firing on all cylinders against Vancouver, allowing only 10 shots against all game. Tonight they will take on an old foe in the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Crosby versus Ovechkin. Or if you prefer, Ovechkin versus Malkin.
Both teams feature an arsenal of stars, which provided fantastic games between the two last year. Let's hope this is case tonight.
Pittsburgh won last years season series 3-1, while three of the four games were separated by only one goal.
Pens defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney are nursing long term injuries, which should mean that Ovechkin will see a frequent dosage of Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh's most sound defenseman. This should bode well for the second line of Semin, Nylander and Laich who should be able to capitalize on the lack of healthy defensemen.
For Pittsburgh it will be important for their superstars to get on the score sheet. They gutted out a 3-2 win against Philadelphia on Tuesday, without Crosby or Malkin registering a point.
However, the goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury has been superb and is to thank for the teams early season success.
Washington will counter with Jose Theodore in net. Theodore sat in place of Brent Johnson on Monday, who notched his 100th win in the process. Theodore is 1-0-0 on the season with a 4.00 GAA and .842 SV%.
Capitals fowards Viktor Kozlov and Donald Brashear will be out of tonight's contest, due to injuries. Kozlov's status is week-to-week with an undisclosed injury, while Brashear is healing an injured hand.
Washington has not had very much success against Pittsburgh lately, and tonight will serve as the first test of the year. A chance to turn the tables on this bitter Patrick Division match-up.
A chance at redemption in this series.
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