Crosby speaks on death threat
Draw the line
Penguins center Sidney Crosby spoke Friday before Game 4 on the death threat Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin received Monday: "That's serious stuff. We all play this game. It's a scary situation and one I've heard (law enforcement officials) have taken care of, so that's a good thing."
Let's play two
Game 5 is tonight at Washington's Verizon Center, and it marks the Penguins' first playoff games on consecutive nights since Games 2 and 3 of a 2007 opening-round series against Ottawa. The Penguins split those contests, losing Game 3 at home after winning Game 2 at Ottawa. The Capitals played Games 6 (win) and 7 (loss) of their 2008 opening-round series against Philadelphia on consecutive nights, and Ovechkin said yesterday he doesn't mind the challenge. "Actually, for me it's pretty good when we play back-to-back games because (opponents) give me more attention than anybody and after that they feel a little tired," he said.
Penguins right wing Petr Sykora was scratched for a second consecutive game. Joining him as scratches were defenseman Philippe Boucher and right wing Eric Godard, who has yet to appear in the playoffs. Capitals scratches were right wing Eric Fehr, defenseman Jeff Schultz, left wing Donald Brashear (suspended), defenseman Tyler Sloan and center Michael Nylander. Capitals center Jay Beagle played in Game 4 after he was recalled from AHL affiliate Hershey. Defenseman Karl Alzner was reassigned to Hershey.
The Capitals weren't the only ones unhappy with the ice surface in Game 3. "That's the worst I've ever seen it here," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "It was really, really soft and ground up. All the skilled guys were having a hard time handling the puck, so you can imagine how it was for the rest of us." Orpik didn't expect the surface to be much better for Game 4, considering Mellon Arena played host to comedian Dane Cook's show Thursday night.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) attended Game 4, as did actor Nick Nolte. Kerry is close friends with Penguins president David Morehouse, who served as traveling chief of staff for Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. Nolte is filming a movie in Pittsburgh.
Penguins center Jordan Staal hadn't scored a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs prior to last night, but coach Dan Bylsma said those offensive struggles were not hindering Staal's customary strong defensive-zone play. "Players talk about confidence," Bylsma said before Game 4. "He needs to be focused on playing a good, solid game, a puck-possession game in the offensive zone and limiting the opportunities for the other team by the way he manages the puck and can play down low."
Pittsburgh Penguins Radio, a HD radio channel devoted to the club, will launch in September. The station is a joint effort between the club and broadcast rights holder WXDX-FM (105.9), and it is a first for a North American pro sports team. Original programming on the 24-hour will include a local live weekday show, and the station will also broadcast AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton games, classic Penguins games and league-produced two-hour daily "NHL Live."
The daily number 3 -- Game 5 victories by the Penguins in five opportunities over the past three playoff seasons. The Penguins are 1-1 on the road in Game 5.