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GM Hockey » All things PLAYOFFS! » Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh

Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh

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Washington vs. Pittsburgh

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1Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:42 am

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
This one is a dream come true for the networks. This should get huge ratings and has the potential of being a classic. How many games? Who takes it?



Last edited by Cap'n Clutch on Tue May 19, 2009 7:40 am; edited 2 times in total


_________________
"A child with Autism is not ignoring you, they are waiting for you to enter their world."

- Unknown Author

2Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:47 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Caps in 7. This will be a WICKED series to watch with OV/Semin vs Crosby/Malkin. WOW! Can't wait.

3Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:59 am

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
Varlamov needs to be even better than he has been because Pittsburgh has a much stronger offense and is playing better than the Rangers have been. It should be a fun series but I think the Pens take it in 6. I think it only goes that long because of Varlamov.


_________________
"A child with Autism is not ignoring you, they are waiting for you to enter their world."

- Unknown Author

4Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:20 am

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Comrade Malkin will be very enthusiastic about seeing his mates from the Russian National Team.

Sasha Semin will get a chance to tell Sid what he thinks, to his face.

Mike Green will see if he's as good as Mr Gonchar.

Whose grinders grind harder?

Marky Flowers Vs SuperSimeon.

Whatta series.

IMHO Pens in 7, in a pitched battle.

5Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:32 pm

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
I picked Washington in 7, and it will not be Ovie vs Sid, it will be Ovie vs Malkin as the two best russian players go head to head. In goal, not sure where the advantage lies, Fleury vs Varlamov, pretty even there as Fleury is flaky sometimes, Simeon has looked solid.

6Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:34 pm

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
Pens in 7.

This is the test for Varlamov. This will decide if Theodore rides the pine next year - or is bought out.

This.

Man, oh man, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhh!

7Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:03 pm

Cronie

Cronie
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
I say Caps in 6! Plus I can't WAIT to see some monster Ovie-Malkin hits...

Seriously, it's like destroying Malkin is Ovie's personal mission. He goes out his way to give him some special treatment! I love it! Smile

And we are treated to an afternoon Series opener! WOO HOO!!

8Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:08 pm

beedub

beedub
Veteran
Veteran
Had to call Pittsburgh in 7. In reality, this one is a toss-up.

It will be classic though

9Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:02 pm

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Where talent and egos collide

PITTSBURGH (AP/SI.com) -- Alex Ovechkin doesn't like Sidney Crosby. Neither does Alexander Semin, who calls Crosby an overrated product of the NHL's hype machine. Ovechkin disliked Evgeni Malkin, too, but now appears to like him again.

Oh, but there's much for the hockey world to like in this Penguins-Capitals matchup, beginning Saturday when the Eastern Conference semifinal series begins in Washington.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau compares it to the circus.

The main attraction is flashy enough -- the NHL's three biggest names under one big top for up to two weeks -- but the sideshows are intriguing and figure to be entertaining. With the NHL's last two MVPs and last three scoring champions in the same series, plus a noticeable edginess whenever the teams meet, there should be plenty of subplots and sound bites.

Who will be the ringmaster?

"There's more to stars meeting here, great hockey players meeting, there's great personalities, strong personalities, there's faces of the league that are clashing," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday. "That's great for the league, great for the postseason."

Clashing is an apt description.

In only four Penguins-Capitals meetings this season (Washington won three), an agitated Ovechkin -- apparently motivated by an off-ice dispute involving an agent -- lined up Malkin several times for hits. Although Ovechkin and Malkin patched up their feud at the All-Star game, apparently with the help of fellow Russian
Ilya Kovalchuk of Atlanta, Crosby said Ovechkin went out of his way to target Malkin.

Later in the season, Ovechkin and Crosby went at it, exchanging pushes and yapping at each other Feb. 22 in Washington.

Semin also created a stir by saying there's nothing special about Crosby and that "if you take any player, even if he's dead wood, and start promoting him, he'll be a star."

That was before Crosby, the 2006-07 MVP and the league's No. 3 scorer this season, led the Penguins' 4-3 win in Washington on March 8 by scoring in regulation and during the shootout.

To the Capitals, Crosby is more than the face of the league, he's also the mouth of it -- they accuse of him of talking too much and whining to the officials. Crosby hasn't responded with criticism in kind, but it's obvious he thinks Ovechkin, last season's MVP and scoring champion, is a hot dog.

Malkin, who succeeded Ovechkin (2007-08) and Crosby (2006-07) by winning the scoring title this season, Ovechkin and Detroit's
Pavel Datsyuk were announced Wednesday as the three finalists for the Hart Trophy that goes to the league MVP.

No wonder Boudreau said after the Capitals eliminated the Rangers by winning 2-1 Tuesday in Game 7, "It wasn't Ringling Brothers, anyway. Now we're playing Pittsburgh (and) welcome to the circus."

There's plenty to fill all three rings of it.

Just three years ago, they were the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh was No. 15 and last, Washington was No. 14. Pittsburgh has since won the conference and reached the Stanley Cup finals, losing last season to Detroit, and Washington won its first playoff series in 11 years after finishing second in the conference this season.

"I remember (telling) Alex when he first came over, his first day, I said we are going to be really bad, really bad, (but) we're going to be good, and then we're going to be great," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.

Whether the Capitals reach such a status this season may well depend on how they do in this compact series. There are no two-day breaks and the teams, if necessary, will play Game 4 (in Pittsburgh) and Game 5 (in Washington) on successive days.

The Caps' success or failure also may ride on rookie goaltender
Simeon Varlamov, a 21-year-old who started only five games during the season before replacing Jose Theodore two games into the Ranger series. Varlamov responded by going 4-2 with a 1.17 goals-against average.

However, shutting down the Rangers, who scored the third-fewest goals during the season, is much different from controlling the Penguins and two of the league's top three scorers.

"Young goaltenders, they can ride that youth, that energy and have big games and big saves," Bylsma said. "We're going to do our best to try to give him some different looks, some second chances, some pucks that are east-west around the net and see if we can't break him down."

To date, neither team has succeeded in shutting down the other. Ovechkin has 10 goals and 11 assists in 16 games against Pittsburgh. Malkin has six goals and 11 assists in 12 games and Crosby has eight goals and 18 assists in 15 games against Washington.

A circus, indeed.

Copyright 2009
Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

10Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:37 am

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
Varlamov was good, but he was playing against the Rangers. They were 28th in the league in goals per game, whereas Pittsburgh was 6th. Plus New York was handicapped on defense (Redden). Unless Ovechkin and Green wake up, this one could be over in a jiffy. But something tells me that Ovechkin will be up for this one. I doubt it goes 7 because of what I said above, so I'll take Pittsburgh in 6, please.

11Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:37 am

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Second-round preview: Caps vs. Pens

By Scott Burnside, ESPN.com

Of the four remaining series, is there any that will approach the buzz and drama around the first postseason meeting between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin? Or the sub-drama of the rivalry between Ovechkin and new scoring champ Evgeni Malkin? In a word, no.

This series will be viewed through prisms that will extend far beyond the wins and losses, goals and saves. The series suggests a greater meaning, whether any of it is true or not. This is the kind of series NHL folks have warm, fuzzy dreams about.

For the second straight postseason, the Capitals went to a seventh game in the opening round of the playoffs. But unlike last season, they did not fold, beating the New York Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday night on a late Sergei Fedorov goal and erasing a 3-1 series deficit.

"Looks like we're playing Pittsburgh," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said after Game 7. "Welcome to the circus. It's going to be great for hockey and great for TV, too."

He's right.

Coming off a dramatic six-game set against Philadelphia, the Penguins look every bit as dangerous as they did last season, when they went to the Stanley Cup finals. The Penguins ice three potent scoring lines led by Crosby and Malkin, who have combined for 17 points. The Caps will match them line-for-line with three dangerous units of their own, not to mention defenseman and Norris Trophy candidate Mike Green, who led all blueliners this season with 73 points. Netminders Marc-Andre Fleury and Simeon Varlamov had better get strapped in.

Penguins rookie coach Dan Bylsma just had the "interim" tag lifted from his title and has shown some moxie in his lineup changes, including yanking struggling forward Petr Sykora for the final two games of the series and putting in oft-maligned Miroslav Satan.

FIVE POINTS TO THE SERIES

1. Power outage. Given the offensive talent available to both coaches, it's a bit of a surprise neither team was able to capitalize on that more consistently when they had the man advantage in the first round. The Penguins went just 4-for-32 and did not score a power-play goal until Malkin netted one late in Game 3. The Caps, meanwhile, collected six power-play goals against the league's best penalty-killing unit, but were clicking at just 18.2 percent efficiency when all was said and done against the Rangers. The Pens' penalty-killing unit was stellar against Philadelphia, allowing just one goal on the past 19 attempts. The Capitals didn't give the Rangers much, just four power-play goals during the series, but that hardly tells the story given the feeble power-play unit the Rangers iced throughout the season.


2. OK, tell me your name again? That would be Simeon Varlamov. Give Boudreau full marks for making a gutsy call one game into the first round, yanking veteran Jose Theodore and replacing him with the 21-year-old kid from Samara, Russia. Varlamov shut down the Rangers pretty much from then on out, going 4-2 with two shutouts and allowing only seven goals in six games. Fedorov told reporter Christine Simpson of Versus before Game 7 he thought maybe Varlamov didn't quite get the pressure of Game 7. Well, if he didn't really get the whole pressure thing then, he's about to now. The Rangers were using cap guns compared to the arsenal the Pens will bring to the table. Varlamov's ability to respond to a different kind of attack will be a major factor in the outcome of this series.


3. Blue-line blues. People used to think the Penguins' blue line might be their weak link. With Sergei Gonchar providing offense (he scored the winner in the series-clincher against Philadelphia) and Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill providing the muscle, this is a very solid unit that can both move the puck and separate opposing players from the puck. But what about the Caps' blue line? A little bit of the same questioning, perhaps. Green is dynamic offensively, but if the Penguins are able to establish a strong forecheck -- as they often did against Philadelphia with the Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke trio -- will the Caps have an answer? The pressure will be on guys like Tom Poti, who had a terrific series against the Rangers, John Erskine, Shaone Morrisonn and Milan Jurcina to dispel those questions.


4. Alex, Part Deux. Just as Malkin has blossomed despite the large shadow cast by Crosby, Alexander Semin has also become an elite scorer without facing the pressure that constantly confronts Ovechkin. Semin was dynamic against the Rangers, leading the Capitals in goals (five) and points (eight), and is as dangerous as they come around the net. Now the question is whether he can continue to bring it at that level now that the next stage of the playoffs has been reached. Semin has had a tendency to be streaky and not all that durable. His continued offensive production is key to taking the pressure off Ovechkin and to the Capitals' continued success.

5. Rough and tumble. Just in case you thought this was going to be seven games of pond hockey … well, forget it. Both these teams can play tough and gritty, too, and that element of the game is going to be an integral part of the series' ebb and flow. It's quite simple, really: The more you make the other team pay for playing the puck, the more they think about it and the more mistakes they make.


The Penguins' aforementioned trio of Kennedy, Staal and Cooke were keys during the Philadelphia series, and Maxime Talbot, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams can also cause some mayhem. The Capitals got captain Chris Clark back for Game 7 after the well-earned six-game suspension handed to Donald Brashear. Clark is as tough as nails when healthy. Matt Bradley, defensive specialist David Steckel and Brooks Laich will have to counterbalance the Pens' toughness and make life rough for guys like Gonchar and Kris Letang on the Penguins' blue line.

KEY MATCHUP

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. All eyes will be on Crosby and Ovechkin in this series. And they should be. The one thing we've learned about Crosby in his short playoff life is he gets better when the stakes get higher. As for Ovechkin, the man loves the stage, and now he's getting to play on the biggest stage yet as an NHLer. Hard to imagine he won't get even better than he was in the first round (he had seven points). Can Crosby stay on his game without getting caught up in what Ovechkin says and does? If he can, it'll be a major moral victory for the Pens.

HOT AND NOT
Washington: Poti had six points in the first round, including a four-point night in a must-win sixth game. Laich had 23 goals during the regular season but had just one in the opening round against New York. He was scoreless in the final four games of the series.

Pittsburgh: Malkin had four multi-point games in the opening round. Staal had zero goals and one assist in the first round.

PREDICTIONS

• Oh, this one should be fun. The Penguins have been here before and showed terrific push-back against Philadelphia. Goaltending favors the Pens, or it should, and that'll be just enough. Pittsburgh in seven.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.

12Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:43 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
This should be the most exciting series of the second round... hopefully the hate on between OV/Semin and Crosby/Malkin reaches a boiling point and makes for a great series.

Varlamov could be in tough with Pitt's snipers.

13Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:45 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
shabbs wrote:This should be the most exciting series of the second round... hopefully the hate on between OV/Semin and Crosby/Malkin reaches a boiling point and makes for a great series.

Varlamov could be in tough with Pitt's snipers.
great, another Semin and Crosby catfight, sheesh :fight:

14Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Empty Re: Round 2 - Washington Vs. Pittsburgh Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:47 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
SensFan71 wrote:
shabbs wrote:This should be the most exciting series of the second round... hopefully the hate on between OV/Semin and Crosby/Malkin reaches a boiling point and makes for a great series.

Varlamov could be in tough with Pitt's snipers.
great, another Semin and Crosby catfight, sheesh :fight:
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Semin's slapfest fight vs Staal... I totally forgot about that... heh heh.