PITTSBURGH | Dan Bylsma knows Mike Knuble all too well. The two are both from Michigan and are friends.
It just happens that Knuble kills the Penguins, who just happen to be the team Bylsma coaches. So at Thursday’s morning skate, Bylsma made it perfectly clear that he knew all about Knuble’s dominance of Pittsburgh.
“I appreciate the reminders of Mike Knuble’s positive play against us,” Bylsma said snidely. “The problem mike has given us is he’s on the inside giving the problem. He’s the guy pretty much around the net and at the net.”
Maybe if this NHL coaching thing doesn’t work out, Bylsma should consider fortune telling. Or maybe he just knew that Knuble would score another ugly goal against the Penguins – his first of the season – in the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime victory.
Ugly might not even do it justice. Knuble was trying to skate toward goalie Brent Johnson when Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland shoved him, knocking the puck into the net.
It was the 13th straight game against the Penguins in which Knuble has registered a point.
“I don’t know why it’s worked out that way – you just get hot against certain teams,” he said.
Hot? Try 31 goals and 15 assists in 62 career games against the Penguins. Those 46 points are the most for the 39-year-old among all NHL opponents.
“That’s a good thing,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “As long as their in the league, Mike will probably be in the league. So that’s good.”
Bylsma conceded it pained him to how big a factor Knuble was to Pittsburgh’s strategy – given their long-standing ties. And that makes Knuble smile a bit.
“It’s funny because we’re form the same area; we’ve know each other a long time,” Knuble said. “So I bet it just irritates him a little bit.”