Penguins notebook: Capitals different than in '09
TribLIVE Sports Videos
WASHINGTON — Penguins coach Dan Bylsma does not believe his old trick will work anymore against the Washington Capitals.
That trick: Allow Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to get his goals — as Ovechkin did in a 2009 Stanley Cup playoff series, scoring eight — and force somebody else to beat the Penguins.
These Capitals, now in the same division with the Penguins, remain led by Ovechkin, who had scored 17 goals in 19 games before Wednesday. However, the Capitals are “playing differently” under coach Adam Oates than they were five years ago with Bruce Boudreau at the helm.
The Capitals were at 2.76 goals-allowed per game compared to 2.93 in 2008-09.
Another difference is the emergence of center Nicklas Backstrom as a trusted second scoring option compared to now-Carolina winger Alexander Semin, who was a less-consistent No. 2 to Ovechkin in 2009.
Seventh in overall scoring (24 points) as of Wednesday, Backstrom said he is comfortable operating outside the spotlight occupied by Ovechkin, who is second only to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in NHL visibility.
Also, the addition of center Mikhail Grabovski, formerly of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has bolstered the Capitals' scoring depth. He had scored seven goals and produced 18 points.
“I really don't think it's just a one-man show with Alex Ovechkin, and they'll go how he goes,” Bylsma said. “It's a different team now.”
Go with it
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made his seventh consecutive start Wednesday and his 11th in 12 games. With 19 starts, he is on pace for a career-high 70 appearances.
Jeff Zatkoff has started only three times in 22 games.
Two years ago, on his way to a career-best 67 appearances, Fleury played in 16 of the Penguins' opening 22 games.
Penguins Radio Network broadcaster Phil Bourque and Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin are minority partners in the Blue Line Grille, a restaurant/lounge across the street from Consol Energy Center. A grand opening is scheduled for Thursday morning. Bourque, who played for the Cup-winning Penguins in 1991 and 1992, said Guerin convinced him to enter the risky world of arena-district development. He also cited a targeted upscale clientele, cross promotion with the Penguins and the rooftop bar as reasons for his belief in the project.
Around the boards
The Buffalo Sabres have started requesting permission to interview candidates for the general manager vacancy, but Penguins assistant general manager Jason Botterill was not in the mix as of late Tuesday.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Penguins top prospect Pouliot eyes quick recovery from surgery
- Penguins notebook: Kapanen shines in scrimmage