Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals
Well, more of a low-light. Brooks Orpik smashes into Olli Maatta late and to the head. Reset that old "Games without a shitbird Capital hit" back to 0. Maatta would leave the game. Orpik would receive a 2 minute minor for interference, and probably receive a sternly worded letter from the NHL because you can't maim a player and just get away scott free.
Inexcusable hit from Orpik. Holy crap. pic.twitter.com/SBsMGOTLLv— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 1, 2016
Again, look just how late this hit was. NHL will have to really fall over themselves to avoid a suspension on this one.
wait this was only a 2 min minor pic.twitter.com/c19k33qbXx— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 1, 2016
That's about all that happened in the first, the Pens generally controlled play, but couldn't earn any good scoring chances due to Washington's defense and made for some relatively easy stops for Braden Holtby .
Carl Hagelin scores the first goal of the game on a great pass from Nick Bonino after Orpik fails to clear the zone. A bit of karma for him not getting 5-and-a-game on the big elbow. Or maybe not, either way nice job by Bonino and Hags to team up for a great play.
What a beaut! Thus far, the #Pens third line has combined for 19 points in 7 playoff games (6G-13A). pic.twitter.com/yvFM9jRYSz— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 1, 2016
Late in the second, the Caps score a goal but wait, no they don't. Apparently you can't sit on the goalie's head, Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Kuznetsov sits on goalie, gets called for interference, goal gets called off. pic.twitter.com/1z42bTM7DE— Shane O'Donnell (@shane1342o) May 1, 2016
Barry Trotz and the Caps were incensed not only was this a no-goal, but a minor penalty for goalie interference but Kuz passes the puck and falls right on the goalie for no reason, with no help from a Penguin so, um...
The Caps draw a penalty and Marcus Johansson collects some loose change in front of the net and puts the puck past Matt Murray to make it 1-1.
No trouble finishing from there. #WSHvsPIT #StanleyCuphttps://t.co/gHa6ETnFZj— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) May 1, 2016
Pittsburgh comes back though, strong play by Evgeni Malkin who tosses a puck out in front and the stick of Eric Fehr deflects a puck over the glove of Holtby to make it 2-1 Pens with 4:28 left in the game.
All is Fehr in love and playoff hockey. pic.twitter.com/JnfrZu0tzz— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 1, 2016
Pens hold on for a Caps push late and win 2-1.
- Orpik's hit on Maatta dropped the Pens down to 5 defenseman for the rest of the game. Nice trade for a 2-minute penalty.
- Shots were 12-1 Pens to open the game, the Caps seemed content to play a fairly passive defensive game and couldn't get much going when they got the puck into the Pittsburgh zone.
- Another slow start in the second for the Caps, with Pittsburgh getting the first 6 shots of the 2nd frame (including the first goal of the game), in fact Washington would only get their first SOG with only 5:12 left in the period.
Ian Cole made a really nice play sticking with Evgeny Kuznetsov in the second period. Kuz tried to deke him and skate by him, nice defense there on a rare big chance to that point for Washington.
- Penguins power play went 0 for 5 in the first two periods. Big missed opportunity. They dominated the course of play and forced the Caps to penalize themselves with all the pressure, but Pittsburgh couldn't get some breathing room thanks to all that hard work.
- As you would expect in a game where one defenseman gets knocked out 4 minutes into it, Kris Letang's ice time was off the charts. 35:22 for #58 followed next by Brian Dumoulin's 24:27.
- The Caps pushed back big time in the 3rd period, but the Pens got the winning goal late. Good in results, hopefully they get another defenseman and can be stronger down the stretch next time.
Series tied 1-1. Remember in 2009, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin (who were both relatively quiet tonight) each scored hat tricks that game, and the Caps came out on top 4-3 to take a 2-0 series lead. This time around, it's 1-1 going back to Pittsburgh, with the Pens generally carrying play at 5v5.
Stealing a win on the road is a great start, but it's only a start. Plenty more of this series yet to go.