- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No. 2 WASHINGTON CAPITALS at No. 4 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

SPOTLIGHT ON:

Capitals G Simeon Varlamov

The revelation of the Stanley Cup playoffs is 6-2 since taking over for Jose Theodore after Game 1 of the conference quarterfinals. The rookie continues to show he’s unflappable no matter the circumstances; he has fallen behind 1-0 in three consecutive games yet has maintained his composure. For the playoffs, he has stopped 205 of 217 shots.

SPOTLIGHT ON:

Penguins C Evgeni Malkin

Malkin’s 11 points rank second on Pittsburgh this postseason, but he has been a nonfactor in this series (two assists, minus-3 rating). That’s not production befitting a regular-season scoring champ. Malkin knows he and linemates Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora have to get going because Sidney Crosby isn’t going to get a hat trick every night. The difference in this series so far has been the goals not scored by Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The Caps hold that edge, and Malkin needs to change that.

STORY LINES

1. OVECHKIN VS. CROSBY ROUND 3

In an epic game Monday, both players posted their first career playoff hat tricks, but Ovechkin’s Caps won 4-3. Each player has four goals in the series, thrilling the NHL office. With the series shifting to Pittsburgh, what do the superstars have left for a third act? The pressure is on Crosby because the Penguins are down 2-0.

2. EFFICIENT ROAD PLAY

The Capitals won twice on the Rangers’ home ice - by a combined score of 9-3. And they won twice during the regular season in Pittsburgh so the atmosphere - even though it will be ratcheted up - shouldn’t bother the Caps. But this will be their first test at showing a killer instinct and putting a team away when they have a chance.

3. GAMESMANSHIP

Will rookie Penguins coach Dan Bylsma have the guts to challenge the legality of Ovechkin’s stick? Will he move Malkin to a wing on Crosby’s line? Will he complain to the referees about the perceived pick plays being run by the Caps? Most of all, can he ensure the Penguins don’t fall behind 3-0?

- Ryan O’Halloran

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

Michael Nylander

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Shaone Morrisonn

Mike Green

Second pair

Tom Poti

Milan Jurcina

Third pair

Brian Pothier

Tyler Sloan

GOALIES

Simeon Varlamov

Jose Theodore

Extras: Eric Fehr, Donald Brashear (suspended), Jeff Schultz, John Erskine, Karl Alzner

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

Philippe Boucher

GOALIES

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mathieu Garon

Extras: Miroslav Satan, Eric Godard, Kris Letang

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