The last time the Penguins took the ice in a meaningful game was back on June 12th. In that game, the Penguins won their fourth Stanley Cup. Tonight we pay tribute to that game and their postseason run as the Penguins will raise their fourth Stanley Cup banner to the rafters. However, it is time to start again. With a new season comes new players, challenges, adversaries, etc..
The Penguins will be without their best player and captain Sidney Crosby due to a concussion suffered in practice last week. They are also without goaltender Matt Murray who injured his thumb in the World Cup of Hockey and forward Bryan Rust . The Capitals are mostly healthy and will certainly come into this game pissed off. Barry Trotz, the Capitals Head Coach, said that he wants his players to watch the banner raising ceremony tonight if possible. If you remember, the Capitals lost in six games to the Penguins last year, thanks to Nick Bonino and company.
Last season the Capitals finished a league best 56-18-8. As is tradition, the Capitals failed to get out of the 2nd round again. Their roster is still good enough to win a Stanley Cup, however that won't happen because to them, only the regular season matters. While the Penguins roster remains mostly intact from last season with the exception of Ben Lovejoy, Beau Bennett, and Jeff Zatkoff, the Capitals bottom six underwent a bit of a makeover. To start, the Caps acquired forward Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens. They then signed free agent forward Brent Connolly, and 22 year old Zach Sanford made the club out of training camp. The Capitals lost former Penguin Zach Sill, who was cut from training camp along with defenseman Aaron Ness.
While the Penguins may not have their 'best' lineup in place tonight, look for speed to continue to be a dominate factor of their game, especially against Daniel Winnik and the Capitals fourth line. As mentioned above, the Capitals will be pissed and come out firing tonight. Without further adieu, let's get to the lineups for both teams.
The Penguins kick off their 50 year anniversary with a Stanley Cup banner raising tonight, incase you live under a rock.
They have played the Capitals 213 times in franchise history, and so far they are 104-88-16-5, remember ties used to be a thing, that's where the 16 comes from. (per Hockey Reference)
Overall, the Penguins are 22-20-6 all-time in season opening games (per Seth Rorabaugh at DK Pittsburgh Sports)
If you're going to the game tonight, remember the ceremony starts at 7:55PM, so don't be one of those dumb yinzers getting in your seat at 8:00PM.
Marc-Andre Fleury will get the nod in net, against 2016 Vezina winning goalie Braden Holtby.
Reminder: This is a regular season game, so the Capitals will take this very seriously and may even win by triple digits.
Daniel Winnik is very slow, look for the Penguins to absolutely abuse him tonight.
Speaking of abuse, never forget when our own @Bobbles412 fought with his wife on the internet.
Look for Tom Wilson to act like a degenerate right off the puck drop, I mean, this is one of the only ceremonies he'll be apart of.
Speaking of ceremonies, Ovechkin will be in awe to see a real meaningful banner inside an arena, because you know WNBA attendance banners hang in Verizon Center.
Sidney Crosby continues to progress, however he will be out tonight.
Bryan Rust is also close, but per CBS Sports, the Penguins want Rust to get a few full practices in prior to returning.
The Penguins are home tonight, which means they will not be wearing their new sexy white away jerseys.
Also, today Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle announced today that the team is no longer for sale. Read into that what you will.