Gameday 13: Penguins vs. Capitals

Gameday 13: Penguins vs. Capitals

Penguins

Gameday 13: Penguins vs. Capitals

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Penguins (6-5-1) vs. Capitals (6-3-3)

PPG Paints Arena | Pittsburgh, PA

Sunday, February 14 | 3:00PM Eastern

NBC | Sportsnet | TVAS 

Welcome back to the weekend gameday, the gameday that is filling in after a frozen tree knocked out the power and internet of the regular weekend gameday.

Love is in the air.  Home is where the heart is.  And the Penguins kick off your favorite made up holiday playing host to the Washington Capitals to start off a 4 game homestand.

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Much like with love, the Penguins find themselves alone and on the outside looking in with something in hand.

In this metaphor, that something is a game and the inside is the playoffs.  Do not act like this was something else.

If there was ever a prime time to turn their fortunes and pick up a 2nd regulation win of the season, it’s a 3 PM afternoon tilt against a team two points ahead of them in the standings.

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One would suspect no changes to the team that got a shootout win on Thursday night on or in Long Island, with the lone change coming in net as Tristan Jarry is slated to get his first career start against the Caps.

Jarry’s not been good this season, having surrender 3 or more goals in all but one of his 7 starts and you can expect the story to surround him all day as you sip your red wine and indulge in some chalk candies.

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Via Evolving Hockey, the Penguins are still in the bottom half of the league in terms of 5v5 expected goals against (14th most – 2.27 per 60 minutes) and all situations expected goals against (12th most – 2.74 per 60).  They’ll need a complete team effort and some big saves from Jarry if they’re going to start a relationship with regulation wins.

Forwards

Guentzel – Crosby – Rust

Zucker – Malkin – Kapanen

Aston-Reese – Blueger – Tanev

O’Connor – Jankowski – Sceviour

Defense

Joseph – Letang

Matheson – Marino

Ruhwedel – Ceci

In Net

Jarry

On the flip side, the Caps have scored 3.5 goals per 60 minutes of play in all situations this season, 3rd most in the league, despite generating the 3rd fewest expected goals per hour in all sits at 2.21 (via Natural Stat Trick).  Their 12.65% shooting percentage in all situations is 2nd most in the league.  So they haven’t generated much in the way of quality, but they’re finishing everything.

Unsurprisingly, their powerplay is humming this season, clicking at 37%, and will be going up against a Penguins penalty kill that is 29th in the league at 70.3%.  Ovi has just one PPG on the season, though, and you can bet your ass he’s due.

In the last 9 games against the Penguins, the Caps have had 26 powerplay opportunities (5:14 per game), having scored just 3 goals.  They’ve been shorthanded 38 times in that same period (7:03 per game), giving up 9 goals.

All this is to say that special teams could decide this one today.  It’s what we deserve.

Forwards

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson

Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie

Panik – Eller – Sheary

Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway

Defense

Dillon – Carlson

Chara – Schultz

Orlov – Jensen

In Net

Vanecek

Go Pens.

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