Sometimes in a long NHL season, it's just not your day. In the big picture though, it can't be a coincidence that it's just never the Penguins day whenever they end up playing the Islanders, Rangers or Capitals. But, we can worry about the larger trends some other time, for this game Pittsburgh didn't put up much of a fight and lost in fairly pathetic fashion 4-0 to Washington tonight.
It was a shame, the Pens actually came out the gates fairly strong. Cracks in the armor though were there from the very beginning. 4:50 into the game the Caps threw a floating point shot towards the net, where their goal scoring captain had inside position on the Pens defense and was tracking the puck. No need to say what happened next. 1-0. Then, a few minutes later, the Penguins got a power play and a chance to get right back in the game.
But their momentum would be derailed with a sloppy effort on their part, and a good job by the Caps PK'ers to send that 2 minutes away with a fizzle. A fizzle that saw more shots on goal by the penalty killers than the power play, which is never a good sign. Still, after 20 minutes shots were 11-8 Pittsburgh, and they were reasonably in the contest.
That would change in a hurry in the second period. The Caps were content to dump and chase pucks, and tightened up big time in the neutral zone where the Pens couldn't find time or space and as a result couldn't generate much of any in-zone puck possession, let alone get around to getting a good look at the net.
The Caps top gunner would strike again late in the second on the power play on his patented one time shot from the left circle to make it 2-0. By then, it was more or less over, with the Pens showing almost no fight or effort from top to bottom to reverse the fortunes they found themselves in.
The Caps would salt the game away in the third period with two more goals, but by then it wasn't really important or consequential, the end result had long been decided. The Penguins almost literally did nothing right, had some events backfire on them, and saw everything break against them. But, they deserved it from their weak, uninspired effort- which as mentioned is becoming more than a trend this season amongst division teams.
But, it's a long season and there's a lot still to play out. A bad game sucks, but it's just one game. Every game is a new chance and the Pens will get another chance on Friday night, on the road in Jersey to get back on the right foot. Hopefully it'll be better, but really it would be hard to imagine it being much worse.
Also, as a post script for this recap, for the first time probably in Pensburgh history this recap did not feature the name of one Penguins player, a move intentionally done. To our eye not one player honestly did do enough to justify the pixels that would make up their name in this space, therefore it won't happen. Hopefully we can bring a more conventional recap for you next time.