It's been more than three years since the Penguins registered a regulation win at the Verizon Center but they snapped that streak with a solid 2-1 win tonight.
Even after Chris Kunitz slipped one past (or is it through?) Tomas Vokoun in the third period, I couldn't help but think the Caps would find a way to tie it up. It's not like you can rule anything out after the Penguins' loss to the Rangers the other night. But the defense tightened up (only two Capitals shots in the third period), Marc-Andre Fleury continued to play a strong game and the clock did its part as it ticked down to triple zeros.
It was undoubtedly a strong game all around, but any time Craig Adams can find the net you have to clap it up for him. Stick tap also goes to Richard Park and Arron Asham for the assists (extra thumbs up to Asham for the first period fight).
In comparing to Tuesday's game against the Rangers, there were noticeable improvements in this one. Brooks Orpik was back to his reliant defensive play, the defense didn't allow many wide-open looks in front of Fleury and the team just did a great job of limiting Washington's attempts to break into the Pens' zone. The Versus announcers joked that it was like watching a Devils game, which I guess is somewhat relevant considering the outcome. Even though it wasn't a high-scoring affair, I still feel it was a pretty good game.
Hard to think Washington won't be getting better from this point on. After the Bruce Boudreau fallout there's bound to be some growing pains while adjusting to a new boss man. That would easily apply to any of the 30 NHL teams. I expect to see a different Capitals team in January but hopefully the same dominant Penguins team as November/December.
Back at it Saturday against the Hurricanes at 7pm.