Pittsburgh Penguins (42-25-6-90 pts) @ Washington Capitals (48-14-10-106 pts)
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is not participating in today’s morning skate as the Penguins prepare for a pivotal matchup against the Washington Capitals.
How important is Malkin to the Penguins? Pittsburgh is 3-7 without Malkin in the lineup this season. Malkin has missed 3 of the last 4 games with a right foot injury and will not play tonight.
The Capitals are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and have been dominant at home, posting a 26-4-4 record on home-ice.
Tonight marks the first post-trade deadline meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals. When the Penguins acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold, head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero indicated that Alexander Ovechkin factored into the decision
to acquire Leopold.
“We couldn’t get Hal Gill back. So if you’re looking for a 6’8” guy to come in, he’s not there. Jordan Leopold played against Alexander Ovechkin every shift the last time they played,” Dan Bylsma said at the time of the acquisition.
“When you’re looking at a guy like Leopold (to acquire), you are always looking to see what kind of guys they are playing against whether it‘s Ovechkin or anybody else,” said Ray Shero.
However, Leopold won’t be getting the assignment on Ovechkin as he remains the No. 3 pairing with Alex Goligoski.
With Malkin out of the lineup, head coach Dan Bylsma will alter his lines once again.
*Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal
*Jay McKee was the extra defenseman in the morning skate as Alex Goligoski worked with the 1st power play unit at the skate.
*Jose Theodore will start in goal for the Capitals. Theodore has established himself as the Capitals No. 1 netminder, posting a 16-0-2 record since January 13 with a 2.40 goals against average.
*The Capitals will be without Scott Walker (knee), Boyd Gordon (back) and Brooks Laich (face). Laich, the Capitals 5th leading scorer, took a puck to the face in Tuesday’s practice.
*The Capitals yesterday sent out a statement about a steriod investigation centering around Virginia chiropractor Dr. Douglas Owen Nagel.
The statement reads, Florida law enforcement authorities have continued their steroid investigation following the arrest of Florida resident Richard Thomas in May 2009. The Washington Capitals are not the target of this investigation, and there is no evidence that steroids were provided to any Capitals players.
This has been a thorough investigation, and we are satisfied that law enforcement, the NHL and our own internal investigation have not led to any link of steroid use by Capitals players.
The investigation included conversations with the Washington Capitals as far back as September 2009, and we were and have been fully cooperative and transparent in the past as well as today.
Dr. Douglas Owen Nagel, a Virginia chiropractor who was arrested today, is not affiliated with the Washington Capitals and is not the “team chiropractor,” as he has stated. Dr. Nagel’s office, however, has seen some of our players for standard, routine chiropractic services.
As part of the NHL’s drug policy, Capitals players are randomly tested up to three times per year by an independent testing agency, which sends the samples to the World Anti Doping Association for testing. Capitals players have been tested twice so far this year. At no time in our history has a Capitals player ever tested positive.
Penguins/Red Wings earn record ratings
The NHL announced today that VERSUS earned a .7 National HH rating and averaged 622,000 viewers for the March 22 Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings game making it VERSUS’ highest-rated and most-watched NHL regular season game in network history and the most-watched NHL regular season telecast on U.S. cable since 2004. The game peaked at a .9 National HH rating and 760,000 viewers during the live telecast.
Monday night’s game surpassed VERSUS’ previous highs set by the Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals game on October 27, 2009 in terms of HH rating (.6) and the Toronto Maple Leafs-Detroit Red Wings 2008-09 season-opening game on October 9, 2008 in average viewership (577,000).
Locally, Pittsburgh delivered a 6.7 HH rating and Detroit earned a 4.7 HH rating making VERSUS the top-rated cable network and also one of the top networks (among both cable and broadcast) in both cities.