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The Afternoon Narrative: Vengeance Now (?), Pens’ Changes and Zebras

Three things we’re talking about this afternoon when we’re talking about the Caps

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

1. In the wake of the (head) shot heard round the (hockey) world, the Penguins would appear to be largely focused on playing hockey rather than vengeance (which is perhaps one way to distinguish them from their co-Commonwealth brethren):

But the ramped-up physicality of the series and a miscommunication has led to one of the more bizarre acts of this entire circus so far:

To recap, Jay Beagle gives a throwaway quote about playoff nastiness, it’s presented to Phil Kessel out of context, Kessel responds with a conditional statement upon which the condition is clearly not met, and Beagle challenges him to a video game.

Alrighty then.

For their part, the Caps aren’t necessarily expecting any retaliation during the game:

The Caps would surely welcome a revenge-minded Penguins club... and the power plays that would ostensibly come along with them. But don’t count on it. This game is simply too important to both clubs.

2. It’s all-hands-on-deck for the Pens, and that may include some guys moving around in the lineup:

While the names, numbers and positions might be different, don’t expect much else to change:

The Pens aren’t going to try to slow the game down and choke a 2-1 win out of the Caps - they’re still going to press and look for opportunistic chances, just as they have through three games. And the Caps should be ready for it.

3. With emotions running high, one would suspect that the League has told both teams to stick to hockey tonight, and the zebras in charge of Game 4 will take every opportunity to maintain order. Then again, it’s the NHL and the playoffs, so... who knows?

Tasked with peace-keeping this pivotal match are veterans Kelly Sutherland and Steve Kozari. Via Scouting the Refs:

Good luck, gentlemen... you’ll need it.