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Pens / Caps Recap: Short-handed Pens fall 3-0

The Pittsburgh Penguins look a step slow after Christmas break and drop a 3-0 game to the Washington Capitals.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins looked a little sleepy and a step slow against the Washington Capitals tonight, losing 3-0. Without 3 of their top 4 defensemen, a couple of key forwards (including Patric Hornqvist leaving the game in the first period) the Pens just never were able to get into the game, and eventually a solid Washignton team took advantage and pushed passed them.

The game was even on the scoreboard until late in the first period when Eric Fehr found a loose puck right in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and popped it home to give Washington the only goal they would really need.

The game would remain tied until the third period when Marcus Johnasson and Fehr scored again to confirm what everyone realized- the Pens just didn't have enough to hang on this night.

A few more notes before we move on:

  • Tough night all around, but it seemed like another solid step for Simon Despres , if you're reaching for the positives. He was a -2, but neither goal against could be pinned particularly against him and also had 4 hits and 4 blocked shots several good reads with the puck.
  • Similarly, Scott Harrington was a -3 and while he didn't have any glaring bad plays, he was forced into duty with Kris Letang matching up against Alex Ovechkin all night long. Not a good look for Harrington, who can probably use a little more seasoning in the minors or at very least in a more sheltered role for now.
  • Another game, another 2 giveaways for Derrick Pouliot, who added very little in the way of good decisions on the blueline with the top PP after Hornqvist's injury. Put him in the talented but needs more time category too.
  • Bryan Rust is growing a reputation for not having a lot of in-zone passing ability. He's not even looking to pass it a lot. He either gets a shot on net or loses the puck. Almost like a mini Tyler Kennedy at this point.
  • The less said about Sidney Crosby 's night, the better. Having Rust as a linemate doesn't help but Sid wasn't great. His flyby on the second goal against seemed like a back-breaker.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury hung tough and didn't give up anything cheap. His rebound control looked very sharp too, which is a positive sign.
  • Credit Nick Spaling for shading towards Ovechkin on the PK. Not even players seem to respect Ovi from that left point where he is so deadly, but Spaling was very cognizant, clearly looking over his shoulder to make sure he was taking the pass away. Call it good coaching, good scoting, good playing, it worked.

Other than that, not a lot to take away from this one except it's over. Hopefully the Pens can get guys healthy sooner than later, the past couple games with an AHL level core of players it hasn't been pretty.