- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins at No. 2 Washington Capitals

SPOTLIGHT ON

Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury

Fleury has never been bad in this series, but he has been a little shaky at a couple of key points — specifically in Game 6. He has been outplayed by 21-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov in nearly every game. Goaltending was expected to be an advantage for the Penguins, but they would be happy with a draw in the department in Game 7. Fleury has the ability to steal a game, but he hasn’t shown it against Washington.

Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin



It has been a great series for Ovechkin. He has seven goals and 13 points, which is the most in a postseason series since before the lockout. He certainly has proved his mettle on the biggest stage available to him at this point in his career. Still, it is these types of games that will help define his and Sidney Crosby’s respective legacies. All of those points will be for naught if his team loses this contest.

STORY LINES

1. UNEVEN STRENGTH

If not for Simeon Varlamov and Pittsburgh’s porous power play, this series would be over by now. The Penguins have won the battle at even strength in nearly every game, and the ones that they didn’t were probably a draw. Washington needs to find a way to play better when the teams are five-on-five. There could be fewer penalties because it is Game 7, so even-strength play will be of great importance.

2. NO MORE SECONDARY SWINGS

Secondary scoring has been critical in this series because the stars have canceled each other out with their great performances. The Caps had the advantage in Games 1 and 2, but Pittsburgh’s big guns got more help in the Games 3, 4 and 5. This category swung back to the Caps in Game 6, and they hope it stays with them for one more battle.

3. RETURN OF GONCHAR?

As if this series hasn’t had enough drama and incredible story lines, there is a chance Sergei Gonchar could play Wednesday night — just five days after a knee-on-knee collision with Alex Ovechkin knocked him out of Game 4. One report said he would be out for several weeks, but Gonchar was on the ice with his teammates Tuesday. He might only be a power-play specialist, but anything from him could help the Penguins.

PENGUINS LINES

FORWARDS

First line

Chris Kunitz

Sidney Crosby

Bill Guerin

Second line

Ruslan Fedotenko

Evgeni Malkin

Max Talbot

Third line

Matt Cooke

Jordan Staal

Tyler Kennedy

Fourth line

Craig Adams

Miroslav Satan

TBA

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Brooks Orpik

Alex Goligoski/Philippe Boucher/Sergei Gonchar

Second pair

Hal Gill

Rob Scuderi

Third pair

Mark Eaton

Kris Letang

GOALIES

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mathieu Garon

CAPITALS LINES

FORWARDS

First line

Alex Ovechkin

Nicklas Backstrom

Viktor Kozlov

Second line

Tomas Fleischmann

Sergei Fedorov

Alexander Semin

Third line

Brooks Laich

David Steckel

Matt Bradley

Third line

Jay Beagle

Boyd Gordon

Chris Clark

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Shaone Morrisonn

Mike Green

Second pair

Tom Poti

Milan Jurcina

Third pair

John Erskine

Brian Pothier

GOALIES

Simeon Varlamov

Jose Theodore

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