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Pens Points: This is Taking Forever

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Sit tight, the wait is almost over. Pens/Caps set to get underway tomorrow night in D.C. Pens fine with long rest as Caps battled Leafs. Guentzel providing spark alongside Sid. Series breakdowns aplenty.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

By the time the puck drops on Game 1 between the Penguins and Capitals on Thursday night it will have been a full week since we last saw the Pens in action. It feels like it’s been a month. For reference, the Pens eliminated the Rangers in five games last year but only had four days off before the second round.

Anyways, the wait is almost over. Tomorrow night they’re back at it against the most familiar of foes in Washington D.C. The predictions are starting to roll in and it seems to be a true toss up. Stay tuned here at Pensburgh for all the latest news surrounding the team and the series.

If you want a view behind enemy lines head over to our friends at Japers’ Rink for everything Capitals.

Here’s some good reads to help you pass the time on this Wednesday...

Prior to 1991 the Penguins and Capitals had never met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Since then, the two sides have met nine times in the postseason with the tenth meeting beginning on Thursday. In the process, the match-up has given birth to one of fiercest rivalries in the NHL . [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

But before we get things started, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back on the biggest moments from the previous meetings between the Caps and Pens. [Trib Live]

While this series will mark the tenth time the Pens and Caps have met in the playoffs, it will be the third playoff meeting between generational rivals Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The two have been forever linked since breaking into the league back in 2005. Crosby and the Pens have one the previous two meetings against the Ovechkin led Caps. [Trib Live]

Resting up after a quick five game victory over the Blue Jackets in the first round, the Pens were more than happy to sit at home and watch the Capitals grind out a hard fought series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Toronto Sun]

In his first NHL game, forward Jake Guentzel made his presence known right from the start with a goal on his very first shot. Since then, Guentzel has established himself as an NHL regular and provided a spark alongside Crosby. [USA Today]

Our good friend Jesse Marshall breaks down all the X’s & O’s and what to keep an eye on when the Pens and Caps kick off Thursday night. [The Pensblog]

This is the series everyone wanted and in many ways it is also the series everyone knew was coming. Unfortunately, thanks to the NHL’s playoff format, the Pens and Caps will square off a round too soon. [Washington Post]

Craig Custance from ESPN has a nice breakdown of the series and what to watch for. Warning: You’re not going to like his prediction. [ESPN]

Both the Caps and Pens were dominant on their home ice this season, recording 32 wins and 31 wins respectively. However, that will be just one key factor in determining who advances to the Eastern Conference Final. [Penguins]

Whether it’s Ovechkin unleashing rockets from his normal spot or Evgeni Malkin teeing up bombs off the half wall, the power play will be pivotal for both sides if they wish to move on. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

The NHL has made it very clear over the past few years that they have zeroed in on China as their next big frontier for growing the game abroad. [Forbes]

Eight teams remain in the pursuit of the Stanley Cup so here are eight players who could be a difference maker in the second round. [USA Today]

Another coaching vacancy gets filled as the Vancouver Canucks have a deal in place to hire Travis Green to fill their void behind the bench. This will be Green’s first stint as a head coach in the NHL after leading the AHL’s Utica Comets last season. [Puck Daddy]