I got to the Verizon Center two hours before tonight’s game and when I showed up, the atmosphere outside of the building was already electric. There were marching bands, men on stilts, people painting their faces, and of course – an overabundance of both red and facial hair.
Both teams are on the ice working out the final kinks before tonight’s epic seventh game. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be donning their road-whites. Washington, as you’d anticipate, is wearing it’s home-reds. The drop of the puck is just under 15-minutes away. Here are a few of the better pre-game nuggets from today’s press packet.
Evenly Matched Clubs
– Five of the six games played in this series have been decided by a goal or less (three have gone to OT).
– Both teams have held a lead at some point in all six of the previous contests.
– No team has led by more than two goals at any point in the series.
– No two-goal lead has lasted for an entire period at any point in this series.
– Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have had a hand in 15 of Washington’s 20 goals in the series.
– Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have earned a point in 15 of Pittsburgh’s 21 goals in the series.
Power Play (Dis)advantage
– The Caps have had 19 extra-man chances in the first six games. The ‘Pens have had 30 in the same span.
– The biggest eye-popper in the PP debate comes in the 3rd period where PIT leads 11-3 in PP chances.
– WSH is 5-for-19 (26.3%), PIT is 7-for-30 (23.3%) in man-advantage situations.
– The Penguins have out-shot the Capitals in all 6 games in this series (226-159 advantage overall).
– WSH held the Rangers to 23.7 shots a game in the first round. PIT is averaging 37.7 this round, though.
– Still though, Simeon Varlamov didn’t’ allow more than 3 goals in the playoffs until the past two games with PIT.
– This is the third straight series the Capitals have played in that has needed a seventh game. Before last season’s first-round matchup with Flyers, Washington hadn’t played in a game-7 since back in 2005 against the Penguins.