Penguins avoid season sweep, take down Capitals 4-3 in shootout

Hooks took this one in at the Verizon Center, so I'll be filling in the recap duties.  I'm sure we'll hear from him later though...

If there's one thing you'll notice as the season starts to wind down it's that whole playoff feel.  Today's game was no exception.  Pittsburgh extended their win streak to six and avoided a season series sweep for the first time in franchise history.

  • The Bill Guerin-Sidney Crosby-Chris Kunitz line is money.  Guerin picked up a goal and two assists, Crosby a goal and an assist and Kunitz one assist.  The power play is also giving off a whole new vibe.  I think it's call hope.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury was solid all game.  Despite that quick two-goal scare within the first two minutes of the third, he remained a brick wall throughout the rest of the game and well into overtime and the shootout.  Flukes happen.  That was one of them.
  • If the Pens lost this game I was ready to jump on the bash Kris Letang wagon.  Minutes after Guerin hooked up Crosby with a beautiful assist, Letang picked up one of his own.  Only his was to Nicklas Backstrom, who found Alexander Semin cutting towards the net to tie it up.
  • If the ice at Mellon Arena was anything like the Verizon Center then the Pens would have some serious issues.  Outside of the first period Guerin-to-Crosby goal, not many passes went tape to tape for either team.
  • Sergei Gonchar took some dumb penalties early on.  He also brought the puck in offside more than a few times as well, some even with the man advantage.  But he made up for all of that with a rocket from the point in the second period.  From there the shots didn't stop, but thankfully the penalties did.
  • The defense did a great job containing Alexander Ovechkin.  Sure he got a rebound goal in the third to kick off that quick two-goal rally, but outside of that the Pens were containing him well and cutting off the passing lanes that led straight to his stick. 
  • The physical side of the Crosby/Malkin vs. Ovechkin matchup took a bit of a downturn.  In its absence Kunitz and Cooke stepped it up, picking up seven and five hits respectively.

Just like that the Pens take down a five-game road trip.  They return home Tuesday night to host the Florida Panthers at 7:30. 

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