- The Washington Times - Monday, May 4, 2009

No. 4 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS at No. 2 WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Penguins lines

FORWARDS

First line

Chris Kunitz

Sidney Crosby

Bill Guerin

Second line

Ruslan Fedotenko

Evgeni Malkin

Petr Sykora

Third line

Matt Cooke

Jordan Staal

Tyler Kennedy

Fourth line

Pascal Dupuis

Craig Adams

Max Talbot

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Brooks Orpik

Sergei Gonchar

Second pair

Hal Gill

Rob Scuderi

Third pair

Mark Eaton

Kris Letang

GOALIESstrong><p>

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mathieu Garon

Extras: Miroslav Satan, Eric Godard, Philippe Boucher

:SPOTLIGHT ON:

Penguins C Evgeni Malkin

Of all the star players in this series, he was the one who had the least impact in Game 1. He didn’t play poorly, but he disappeared for stretches and didn’t create chances like Sidney Crosby did. The Penguins need him to be great because the Caps’ second line has been consistently great since Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin teamed up.

Capitals lines

FORWARDS

First line

Alex Ovechkin

Sergei Fedorov

Viktor Kozlov

Second line

Tomas Fleischmann

Nicklas Backstrom

Alexander Semin

Third line

Brooks Laich

David Steckel

Matt Bradley

Fourth line

Chris Clark

Boyd Gordon

Eric Fehr

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Shaone Morrisonn

Mike Green

Second pair

Tom Poti

Milan Jurcina

Third pair

John Erskine

Brian Pothier

GOALIES

Simeon Varlamov

Jose Theodore

Extras: Michael Nylander, Donald Brashear (suspended), Jeff Schultz

SPOTLIGHT ON:

Capitals C Sergei Fedorov

Fedorov was not having a good series against the New York Rangers, and then he scored the most important goal by a Caps player in 11 years in Game 7. Maybe it was the momentum from that goal, but Fedorov was good again in Game 1 against Pittsburgh, setting up Alex Ovechkin on a couple of opportunities with some slick stick work. If he and Ovechkin are clicking and Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin keep humming along, the offense is going to be tough to contain.

STORY LINES

1. PENGUINS’ POWER OUTAGE

The Pittsburgh Penguins have three elite offensive players in forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Sergei Gonchar. But for whatever reason the team’s power play has been in a funk this postseason. They can’t beat Washington without getting some production with the extra man, because the Caps are likely to convert their fair share of chances.

2. SEMIN SURGING

Lost in the adulation for Crosby, Malkin and Alex Ovechkin is the play of Alexander Semin, who leads the Caps with five goals and 10 points in this postseason. His five goals were tied for the most by any player in the first round, and in Game 1 he showed off his creativity with two beautiful slap passes to help set up goals.

3. FLOWER BLOOMS?

Simeon Varlamov became the star of Game 1 with his highlight-reel save against Crosby late in the second period. Marc-Andre Fleury was OK and made some nice saves but not enough to match Varlamov’s effort. If Varlamov continues to get the better of Fleury, the Caps are going to win this series. Fleury can get streaky, and the Penguins are going to need a good streak at some point soon.

- Corey Masisak

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