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Article:Penguins vs Capitals Preview - 1-21-08

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Much to the NHL's dismay, tonight's game in Pitt against the Caps won't be a display of the combined brute force known as Sidvechkin. It will, however, be the Pens' second straight attempt at winning without their captain over the surprisingly improved Capitals team.

Don't be surprised to see the Caps shoot out of the gate tonight and potentially even look like another team. That's because, in all honesty, they are. After being near the very bottom of the Eastern Conference by the end of November, the Caps have since gone 8-2-1 to put themselves into the playoff hunt. To make things even more interesting, they've won their last three.

"I have been trying as hard as I can, but I'm going to try my best. I will try to be the leader of this team." Evgeni Malkin

If anything, the guy's stock value is definitely on the rise.

This season the Pens lead the series with Washington 2-0, the latest victory coming on a 4-3 OT win back on December 27th. Considering how you'd like to remember that game, it was either Gonchar's worst game, or one of his best.

Crosby was officially placed on injured reserve today. An MRI was scheduled, however it was delayed due to swelling around the ankle. For those who may have still had hope he'd be back soon, let this unfortunately seal the deal for ya.

To try and compensate for the mounting injuries, the Pens have called forwards Chris Minard, Jonathan Filewich and Tim Brent from the WBS team. The Penguins website provided some quick stats on them as well.

Chris Minard currently ranks second on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in points (31) and leads the club in goals (17) in 39 games played this season. He ranks fourth in the AHL in shots on goal (147) and is tied for fourth with nine power play goals as of games played on Jan. 19. Minard was originally signed by the Penguins as a free agent on July 12, 2007.

Tim Brent currently leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in points (35) and assists (28) playing in 39 games for the club this season. He had a league season high 10-game assist streak from Dec. 15-Jan. 9, racking up 15 assists during that span and 19 points (4+15). Brent had six multi-point games during that span. He was originally acquired by the Penguins in a trade with Anaheim on June 23, 2007.

Jonathan Filewich has played in 37 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and tallied 17 points (7+10). He has recorded 10 points (5+5) over his past 15 games. Filewich was originally selected by the Penguins in the third round (70th overall) of the 2003 Entry Draft.


Penguins.NHL.com

Since Sid's rookie year, the Pens are 1-3-3 in games without him. FYI - that one win just came against Montreal on Saturday night.

The Pens have posted a January record of 7-1-1, and are hoping to head into the All-Star break with three straight wins.

Pens vs Caps tonight at 7:30.


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