Washington Capitals: Will Fans Regret Their 'We Want Pittsburgh' Chant?
During the Washington Capitals' most recent win on Tuesday December 21, fans could be heard chanting, “We want Pittsburgh.” Well, they will get them on Thursday December 23 when the Penguins make their first trek of the season to Washington DC’s Verizon Center.
The Washington faithful that were begging for the Penguins to come to town have put December’s eight-game losing streak behind them. Now, with two consecutive victories over the Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils they are ready to face the Penguins, the number two team in the NHL. The Senators and the Devils sit in 24th and 30th place in the 30-team league.
In short, a little perspective may be in order for Capitals fans. While the Capitals have gone 3-6-2 in December the Penguins have posted a record of 7-2. While the Capitals hold onto a tenuous one-point lead in the Southeast Division, the Penguins trail the NHL leading Philadelphia Flyers by one point.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby leads the league in scoring with 58 points while the highest scoring Capitals player is Alexander Ovechkin who has posted 39 points. The NHL leader in goals? That’s Crosby as well with 28; Alexander Semin leads the Caps with 18. Assists? Crosby is second in that statistic with 30, while Ovechkin has 27.
Lastly, if you look at plus/minus rating, the Penguins have three of the top 10 players in the NHL in that category while the nearest Capital is Brooks Laich at No. 27.
The goaltending seems to follow in the same vein; Pittsburgh’s goalies, Brent Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury sit in the top 20 in save percentage and the top 10 in goals against average. The Capitals Michael Neuvirth is 27th in save percentage and 25th in GAA.
All this does not mean that the Capitals don’t stand a chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it just points out that right now may not be the time for the Washington faithful to call out the Penguins.
If the Capitals are victorious in Thursday’s game they should be able to put their recent losing skid behind them with confidence and head into the holiday season with their heads held high. If they stumble and lose, they will only hear about how the beat two easy teams, but could not beat an above average opponent.
In the end, this should be an exciting game with a lot riding on it for the Washington Capitals hockey club.
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