New Beasts of the East?

Move over Pens, Capitals rule

Could it have been that easy?

Within a matter of hours Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals not only broke the Pittsburgh Penguins' spirit, but may have dashed their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals handed the struggling Pens a demoralizing 6-3 loss on home ice.  But the score wasn't the only thing that hurt.  So do the players.

Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi left the game a bloody mess in the first period after using his head to stop a Mike Green shot from the point.  Checking-line center Max Talbot also left the game with an injury.

But the biggest injury of them all came in the third period, when superstar Sidney Crosby landed awkwardly after colliding with Dave Steckel along the boards.  Crosby needed the help of a linesman to leave the ice and he didn't return.  Tests will be done to see the severity of the injury.

If Crosby's out for any length of time, it might be light's out time in the Steel City.  And the Capitals couldn't be happier.

There is bad blood between these two teams.  Lots of it.

And if this one game on a bitterly cold Wednesday night in Pittsburgh leads to the end of the Penguins' brief reign as Eastern Conference champions, the Capitals would happily take the title of Beast of the East.

The Capitals, you see, have struggled recently, losing three games in a row.  But good teams find a way to win when they need to.  And it doesn't hurt to have Alex Ovechkin on your side.

Ovie did what Crosby couldn't do on this night -- lead his team to a win by scoring a big goal.  Ovechkin scored two of them and added an assist. 

Crosby, on the other hand, had helpers on two Pittsburgh goals.  But he had a chance to set a tone early in the first period when he got behind the defense on a breakaway -- and failed to score (put a freakin' curve on your stick already, Sid!).  If Crosby scores that goal, the crowd goes nuts at Mellon Arena, the wind is taken out of the Caps' sails and all is right in Western Pennsylvania.

But Crosby didn't score.  The Pens didn't take charge of the game.  And they didn't win.

The Capitals have long been a doormat for the Penguins' franchise, but all that might have changed on a cold and snowy January night in Pittsburgh.

Take note, Caps fans.  Your time may be now.

Pens fans, well, you've still got the Stillers.

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