Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Penguins 5 - Crapitals 4(SO): Caps Choke on Malkin's Cooking

The Crosby vs. Ovechkin match lived up to all the hype and made greasy NHL executives very happy as the Pittsburgh Penguins triumphed 5-4, in a shootout, over the Washington Capitals in a very exciting game.

The Caps were spotted 4 goals and it looked like a rout until the dynamic Crosby-Malkin duo got to work and carried the team on their shoulders for the victory. Was there any doubt? C'mon, we know who the better player is, and his name isn't Alexander Ovechkin.

Box Score

From NHL.com:
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby set the stage, Evgeni Malkin made the difference.

The ballyhooed matchup of last season's top two rookies lived up to the hype, but Malkin - this year's leading rookie - was the star on Monday night.

He notched a goal and assisted on one by Crosby in regulation, then scored the decisive tally in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins erased a four-goal deficit and beat Ovechkin's Washington Capitals 5-4.

"He's done it a million times, I think," Crosby said of Malkin, who teamed with Ovechkin on Russia's Olympic team this year. "He looks so smooth out there. He does it in practice, and he does it with ease in key situations. One-one-one with a goalie, I like our odds with him."

Erik Christensen also scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, 2-3-1 in the past six games.

Chris Clark had two goals and two assists for the Capitals, who led 4-0 in the second period but couldn't hold on for their sixth win in seven games. Washington is 0-5 in shootouts this season.

The Penguins stormed back with goals in the middle frame from Maxime Talbot, Christensen and Crosby, who scored for the fourth straight game.

"There's no question there's more emotion, but it's natural for it to be like that," Crosby said of facing Ovechkin. "I don't think guys are adding anything to it than what it is. Everyone knows when it's a bigger stage guys want to rise to the occasion.

"I don't feel I have to rescue a franchise or a league. I'm happy to be part of both, but I think there's a lot of young talent, a lot of guys who can bring excitement besides me and Alex."

"Sid was playing really good, and he gave a good pass, and I finished it," Malkin said through an interpreter.

"It's a great comeback," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "We matched their intensity and we started skating with them. Orpik and Ruutu went over and got physically involved and we built from that."

Ovechkin had the Capitals' only goal in the shootout against Penguins' youngster Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside Mike Green and Chris Clark after making 29 saves through overtime.

"It was an unbelievable game to watch," Ovechkin said. "We dominated the first period and 10 minutes of the second period and then just stopped playing.

"Sometimes that happens. Nothing is a lock, you know? We're just disappointed right now."
On the night, Sidney finished with 1 goal, 1 assist, and +2 in 19:53 of ice time. Sidney also had a team-high 2 hits registered. His only blight was the 12-29 record on faceoffs.

Now, how are others seeing this exciting tilt?

JP @ Japers Rink:
They should have won.

They did not.
Yes, and I should have won the lottery, but have not.

CapsChick is also very disappointed:
Usually I can wake up the morning after a loss and start looking at the positive things, the silver lining – that is, after all, my specialty. The most painful losses become learning experiences with the fresh eyes of dawn.

Not today.

No, my friends, today I choose bitterness and anger. Because that wasn’t just a loss to the Penguins...it wasn’t even just a loss to the Penguins with 8-9,000 of their closest friends in our building. It was a loss to the Penguins with 8-9,000 of their closest friends in our building on national television after dominating for the first half and jumping out to a 4 goal lead before losing...in a shootout.

Michael the Hockey Fanatic adds:
The last laugh is the true story of tonight's game where Evgeny "Geno" Malkin got lost in the pre-game hype and stole the show scoring the beautiful OT winner.

The game hopefully is another watermark in the history of a good rivalry being built that the NHL is banking the future of the league on

OffWing.com has lots of photos and other coverage from last night's game.

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