Yep, only one of the biggest, most-hyped regular season match ups between two of the most bitter rivals in the NHL. The Capitals visit Mellon Arena and the much-disliked Pittsburgh Penguins tonight for the first meeting of the season. The pestiferous Pens dashed the Caps' hopes of advancing in last year's playoffs in a blowout home ice Game 7 that players and fans alike still have etched in their memories. And the mutual animosity between the the two Eastern Conference powerhouses captains, Sid and Ovie of course, is certainly no secret to anyone in the hockey world. These two leaders are blazing ahead of the pack in terms of goals and points among all NHL players; Crosby leads Ovechkin in goals by a mere two. Meanwhile Ovechkin has amassed more points than Sid with 65 points to the kid's 63.
The Pens are coming off a huge win against the New York Islanders (where Isles' Andy Sutton got a two-game suspension for brutally boarding Pittsburgh's Pascal Dupuis) where they had a season-high four power play goals. The Capitals meanwhile were a stellar 5 for 5 on the penalty kill Tuesday night against a dangerously offensive Detroit club.
The Caps recalled John Carlson from Hershey this morning so look for more good things from Team USA's golden star. Meanwhile, expect to see a familiar face in net for the ice fowl, as Brent Johnson will most likely be between the pipes in place of an injured Marc-Andre Fleury. That is going to be very strange indeed.
Yes sports fans, this one's a biggie in the truest sense of the word. For more from the Penguin's fan perspective (if you care), check out SB Nation's PensBurgh. And if you're ready to get fightin' mad and riled up for the game (several hours early), read this enemy propaganda from The PensBlog.
As if you're not already psyched for hockey, you'll love this one (HM has a special affinity for goalies who'll drop the gloves, even when they deserve to get rocked). Check out Canadien's goal tender Carey Price (who is so far out of his crease he might as well be in the Molson/popcorn line) getting ready to dance with St. Louis Blues' Cam Janssen. Awesome...
Back to the team we all know and love, the Capitals will face off against the Penguins at 7:30 - looking for the boys to unleash some fury on our pals from the Steel City!