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Penguins vs. Caps recap: A Capital comeback in DC

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The Pittsburgh Penguins go up 2-0 but the lead slides away in the 3rd period with a Matt Niskanen power play goal.

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The Pens looked good at the beginning, bad in the middle, competitive in the 3rd, until a late PP goal sunk their ship tonight.

The Goals

Carl Hagelin with the flip pass up for Evgeni Malkin, who thoroughly embarrasses Dmitry Orlov before beating Braden Holtby. Seriously, first 2-on-1 you've ever seen, buddy?

In the second period, the Pens would strike again after some nice passing from Sidney Crosby and Olli Maatta to find Patric Hornqvist all alone in front of the net for Hornqvist's 4th goal the past 2 nights to make it 2-0.

The Caps would get right back in the game 39 seconds later with Mike Richards taking a shot that might have deflected off the traffic in front, but definitely got past Matt Murray.

A+ shade thrown by NHL on NBC

The Caps would tie the game 2-2 with a goal by Evgeni Kuznetsov after a nice circle of the net by Justin Williams.

Matt Niskanen would give the Capitals their first lead of the game on the power play on a point shot.

Some Thoughts

  • Pens held the Caps 8:53 before the home-team recorded a shot on goal.
  • 2 embellishment penalties within 2 minutes for the Caps in the second period, could be the next banner to hang in Verizon?
  • 6 shots on goal for the night for Bryan Rust, including 5 in the first period alone. None were terribly threatening but his line (with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnhackl) were controlling play early with several good shifts.
  • Matt Murray was keeping the puck in front of him for the most part, but as the game went on he started to look a little nervous for the first time in the NHL, letting some rebounds get away, bobbling the puck behind the net a little and not quite having the puck control that he's shown in the past.
  • Frantic pace in the 3rd with hits, end-to-end plays each way and a lot of energy expended for that next goal in the tie game.
  • Good response for the Pens there, after looking fairly overwhelmed in the 2nd period.
  • In fact, it seemed like the game sort of slipped away from them a little with a bad power play midway through the 2nd that looked disjointed. After that the Pens legs seemed to go away a little, or maybe just the Caps woke up and/or kept grinding away, but the 2 ineffective Pittsburgh power plays (one cut short when Kessel had to take a penalty to prevent a SH chance against) loomed large in the game...Especially considering that the Caps scored the game winner on a PP of their own.
  • First game that Pittsburgh's lost this season when leading after the first period, breaking an 18-0-0 run.
  • A night after playing 26:38, Kris Letang played 25:57 tonight, a game-high and by far a team-high.
  • Tough penalty for Malkin to take late, unintentional but obvious penalty call. On a night where Malkin (goal) and Sidney Crosby (nice play on assist) generated 2 goals, it's a shame the depth players couldn't punch through. Kuhnhackl had a breakaway,  Rust had a million shots, Phil Kessel had a nice sharp angle shot, Carl Hagelin put one right in Holtby's glove late. Need one of those in the back of the net to beat Washington.

In a sense, never good to blow a 2-0 lead, but on the second night of a b-2-b, on the road against a rested and really good team, it's not a shock. Good battle, good game, the Pens just come out on the short end of the stick tonight. Onward to the next one.