Capitals lead series 2-1
The very much hyped NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and thier respective Stars Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, thus far has lived up to all the hype, and then some. Replete with complaints from both sides, raging from accusations / allegations of cheating, to complaints about officiating, to whining from Penguins fans about the ticket sales tactics used by the Washington Capitals to limit sales as much as possible to Caps fans only, right down to a death threat against Washington's superstar winger, Alexander Ovechkin. The threat was discovered on the Penguins official message boards, and was reported to authorities in PA, as well as to both clubs, and to the NHL, all of which took the threat seriously, sparking more drama, which now includes police involvement, in this already dramatic series. The death threat, which as now been highly publicized on both the internet, and on local television news outlets in both cities, was apparently made by a 17 year old male from Chambersburg, PA. I will not post this persons name since he is a minor, but it has been posted on several news outlets websites. Police were investigating the thread, and have questioned the person, and confiscated the computer used to post the message. The threat, (pictured at left) which was posted was simply this:
"I'm killing Ovechkin. I'll go to jail. I don't care anymore."
The subsequent media frenzy has now sparked what could be dubbed an internet messagboard war between Caps and Pens fans. The Pens fans are apparently firing back by attempting to invade the Capitals Official Message Boards and look for questionable posts to report to authorities. There are multiple threads on both the Caps and Pens message boards regarding the subject. This has prompted the administrators of the Caps boards to close the boards to any new registrations until after the current playoff series is over. It has almost gotten comical at this point. Never a dull moment in this series thus far.
Now, onto the game. The Capitals will be looking to regain a 2 game lead in this best of 7 series once again tonight in Pittsburgh. The Caps who did not play very well in game 4, with the exception of goaltender Simeon Varlamov, will be looking to rebound and once again take control of this series. The Capitals, who have faced a spate of injuries, are once again making some lineup ajustments. The biggest news of the day was the Washington Capitals star forward Alexander Semin (pictured left) did not skate in this mornings practice. It is possible that he is nursing an injury, but there have been no outward signs of anything too serious. He was seen leaving Mellon Areana this morning, and appared to move just fine. Alexander Ovechkin seems to think he will be ok to play in tonights game. The Caps also made another lineup adjustmet today, returning defencemen Karl Alzner, and recalling forward Jay Beagle (pictured lower left) from thier AHL affiliate, Hershey Bears. It is unclear who Beagle will replace, but it appears there will be shakes ups throughout the Caps 4 foward lines. Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau is known for his willingness to change things up in the lineup if things do not go as planed for the Capitals. It will be interesting to see who gets in and who sits, and who is placed on what lines. The Capitals are already without the services of defencemen John Erskine, who did skate this morning but its still questionable for tonights game, and forward Eric Fehr. Erskine has not played since taking a hard shot to the leg in game one of this series. Eric Fehr has missed games 2 and 3 with an undisclosed upper body injury, and is likely to be out again tonight. It is unclear if Boudreau will use Beagle in tonights game, or if he will once again go with veteran forward Micael Nylander. Tyler Sloan has replaced Erskine in both games he has missed thus far, and presumably will be in the lineup again this evening. Here is Caps Washington Post beat writer, and author of the blog Capitals Insider, Tarik El-Basir in his video update from Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh:
If the Capitals hope to regain thier 2 game lead in this series, and afford themselves the opportunity to close things out on home ice Saturday night at Verizon Center, theyw ill need to play a much different game than they did in game three. The Caps will need to pick up thier speed, and have much more control of the puck. They will also need to keep themselved out of the pentalty box. In the last game, the Capitals recieved only two power plays to Pittsburgh's 7.
Personally I feel confident the Capitals will rebound tonight, and once again regain a commanding 2 game lead in this series. Off to prepare for watching tonights game!