Before I go much further about the game a couple of points and comments about the atmosphere:
1) Folks continue to shout RED and OH during the anthem instead of singing it respectfully. Too bad, I say, I hope the idea of singing the whole national anthem respectfully catches on before the playoffs, I know I'm rooting for it.
2) To the Pittsburgh Fan in front of my seats with a Crosby Jersey on: a) You come here wearing that shirt on a day when your "boy" gets into with our superstar, expect some ribbing or stay home dude; b) I don't care what you think, the best guy on your team wears #71 these days and "Sid the Kid's" ego is probably costing him $1.3M per year, when the guys stunts and ego continues to do that and Malkin leaves Pittsburgh like Hossa did, I hope you still like the way that Jersey looks; c) We won, you lost "nah, nah, nah, poo, poo" dude; d) While it is true the Steelers did win the Superbowl this year, that is a sport called football, we were at a hockey game and while there are Stanley Cup Banners hanging in the Igloo, the most recent year on them is 1991-1992 so since you were possibly in elementary school at the time it doesn't mean much when you're at an NHL game in 2009; and finally e) Of course you're right you are half my age and twice as mature as me, if the reverse were true, I'd be donating the money to a good cause like helping the homeless instead of buying season tickets, but hey I am an immature, selfish guy who really enjoys giving a hard time to the out of town fans the ticket broker who owns the seats in front of me sells them to, so instead I hope you get a headache staring into the sun while you drive back west on the PA TPKE to Pittsburgh. Oh and one more thing we won - nah nah nah poo poo; and yes I know that's the second time I said that but I'm immature and since it felt sooo good the first time I figured I'd do it again.
3) The crowd was indeed loud and proud, proud of their home team, and that was a great, fun thing to see.
4) I have a suggestion to get EVEN MORE folks in Red and less folks wearing opposing team sweaters - here it is. In between periods, I suggest that only a very few concession stands sell food and beverages to folks wearing opposing jerseys AND they be forced to pay a 50% premium if the are actually wearing the jersey when they pay at the register. I think it would be cool to see all those guys taking those "Crosby Penguin Jerseys" off so they could buy the good beer and pay just the normal $7.50 per beer. After all when it comes to Penguins fans we're talking about a group that in the year after the lockout, they came to "our house" and broke "Horn Guy's" horn.
Now back to the game...
The following guys had solid games for the Penguins: Evgeni Malkin; Brooks Orpik; Sergei Gonchar and Maxime Talbot, though none of them controlled the tempo of play for any extended period like an entire shift. Mathieu Garon was flawless stopping 14 of 14 shots but the damage was done before he got into the game.
The following guys had great games for the Capitals:
1) Sergei Federov - entirely deserving of the first star he got. 1 goal, 1 assist; +2; 50% (6/6) in the faceoff circle; 12:41 of ice time. He is a great catalyst for both a solid, energetic second line and the power play; and that's "all" he did this afternoon. Last year this time he may have been "unwanted in Ohio" but this year he is proving he remains one of the most elite players in the NHL of all time. The future hall of fame center is a key ingredient to this year's successful Washington Capitals team.
2) Alexander Ovechkin - second star of the game. 1 goal, 1 assist; 9 shots, 5 hits, 2 takeaways in 18:36 of ice time. He owned Crosby and during the second period when it looked like the real best player on the Penguins - Malkin - might get some room and come alive, Ovie put the body on Geno to keep him in the family of us mere mortals. That seemed to jolt the backliners like Morrisonn to life and make them play a more physical game with Malkin the rest of the game.
3) Alexander Semin - third star of the game. 1 goal, 1 assist, +2; 4 take aways. Semin had 15:21 TOI including some really excellent short handed play during 2:26 on the penalty kill. The "other Alex" clearly wanted to make a statement and show he deserved being listed as an elite player in the NHL and did so today.
4) Tom Poti - 21:16 TOI including 8:04 on the Penalty kill; 1 assist and +1 on the afternoon; Poti was NOT on the ice for either of the Penguin goals and also had 1 hit and 4 blocked shots.
5) Mike Green - Once again led the Caps with 24:04 TOI including 5:32 on the penalty kill time. "Game Over" also had 1 assist, 5 shots, 3 hits, and 2 takeaways.
6) Jose Theodore - A save % of 0.939; came up with several big saves to keep the momentum going the Caps way; a solid effort by the former Hart and Veznia winner.
7) Nicklas Backstrom - Twenty-four (24) shifts, 20:23 TOI including 4:45 on the penalty kill unit, 2 assists, 4 hits, 45% in the face off circle. Another solid game for the sophomore, he too had a couple of solid plays and looked good when matched up with Crosby, though it's hard to compare the two since I've never seen Backstrom whine, ever.
Well next up will be the ever tough Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday Evening at Verizon Center. I had planned to go but now I have to be out of town on business so I'll either swap my tickets with Tom for Thursday or give my tickets to someone in the office. I'll be listening though probably a little distractedly as I'll be in South Florida...
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!