Penguins versus Capitals. You know it'll be a hard hitting, intense affair and today's matinee lived up to the billing.
The game started out aces for the Pittsburgh Penguins, with two goal in the first six minutes of the game. First, Kris Letang blasted a shot from the point past Tomas Vokoun. Then after Evgeni Malkin won a faceoff, James Neal one-timed it by for a 2-0 Pens lead. That would be all the scoring for the first period.
In the second it'd be all Caps- Brooks Laich drove to the net and got Washington back in the game for a 2-1 cor and then three minutes later Alex Semin tied the game up at 2.
Alex Ovechkin, who assisted on the first two Caps goals, gave Washington the lead at 3-2 one minute into the third period. James Neal would answer for Pittsburgh to force an overtime. In OT, as usual, it became the Malkin show when he abused Roman Hamrlik and scored a bad angle goal from right in front.
Some more thoughts on the game:
- The Pens win, breaks a Capitals eight game winning streak in Pittsburgh dating back to 2007. Always nice to get that out of the way.
- The Caps, as a team, recorded 20 shots on goal. Evgeni Malkin and James Neal had 12 shots on goal by themselves. The Pens top line has been so dominant and today was no different. Caps coach Dale Hunter seemed fine rolling normal d-pairings and was presumably comfortable with Roman Hamrlik out against the Pens top line for whatever reason. It burned them time and again.
- Hits galore as flying walinda Alex Ovechkin left his feet to smash Zbynek Michalek up high. The play went unpenalized so Michalek figured he could do the same to Matt Hendricks a little later. But Michalek's not a superstar so he was penalized on the play. Brenden Shanahan will be talking to both later about possible discipline.
- Throw Malkin's numbers out of the faceoffs and the Pens were dominant winning 64% of the non-Malkin draws.
- After taking the Ovechkin high-hit, Michalek would be on the ice for all three of the goals against, including some questionable play in front of his net. Now, far be it from an observer to guess anything was wrong with his thought processes, but Z didn't really seem like himself after the hit. Hopefully nothing lingers for him, especially considering he just returned from a concussion earlier in the month.
- Interesting that in a tight game, Dan Bylsma is going back to leaning heavily on his top 4 defensemen. Matt Niskanen (who's been playing well and almost 19 minutes a night) only got 11:52 of ice-time. Deryk Engelland found ice time even more seldom, getting just 10:36. Contrast that to the top four players pulling down 27:09 (Kris Letang), 24:02 (Brooks Orpik), 21:11 (Paul Martin) and 21:04 (Michalek).
Another big win for the Pens, who after losing six straight now find themselves on a six game winning streak. It's not a coincidence that Malkin has 13 points and at least a goal in every game (plus two in the shootout for good measure). They need him to be big and he's been the best player in the world lately. The Pens will roll on to Saint Louis Tuesday night for one final game before the all-star break.