A bunch of changes from last game Letang (IR) is out, and Chad Ruhdewel is out, meaning top-line Maatta-Daley time. Jake Guentzel is back for his second taste of NHL action and Matt Murray gets the net.
Let's Go Pens! pic.twitter.com/73YWpQrGOw— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 16, 2017
Evgeni Malkin takes a pretty weak penalty but the Penguins kill off the Capitals first power play. But Washington still strikes first, sloppy play behind the net by Nick Bonino and Ian Cole and Daniel Winnik is able to center the puck to a wide-open Andre Burakovsky who's right in front and able to lift the puck over Murray.
burakovsky goal pic.twitter.com/FF9WZOq30h— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 17, 2017
Caps take a 2-0 lead with Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen making a sloppy defensive play behind the net and TJ Oshie centering a puck for a wide open Nicklas Backstrom to pick a spot. Eerily similar goal to the first.
Backstrom goal pic.twitter.com/97i4lVsFnP— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 17, 2017
Patric Hornqvist gets a great scoring chance but no dice, big stop by Braden Holtby.
Shots 11-11, but aside from a few sustained pressures from the Pens it felt like they were outplayed for about 16 of the 20 minutes, cumulatively speaking.
Pittsburgh doesn't really wake up during intermission, Pens take a penalty at Matt Cullen rings a puck off the post.
Then Cole keeps Justin Williams in front of him but Williams is still able to beat Murray short-side for a goal that the Pens netminder probably would want back. 3-0.
But just when all hope looked lost, the Pens rally for 3 goals in 2:27 to tie the game.
First Malkin scores on a 4v4, on a nice offensive zone pass from Trevor Daley.
Then Sidney Crosby somehow passes a puck right through Karl Alzner that gets to Conor Sheary for a tip in to make it 3-2.
Okay, that was beautiful. pic.twitter.com/tHD7lsKEbo— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 17, 2017
Nick Bonino completes the comeback by boxing out Backstrom in front of the net and the flood-gates are completely open now.
For all the bad luck the Pens have had against Holtby lately, they get a lucky break here. Bryan Rust banks a puck in from behind the net off of Alex Ovechkin and in to give the Pens a 4-3 lead.
Why score from in front of the net when you can bank it off Ovechkin? pic.twitter.com/CeYh4L73IO— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 17, 2017
Why settle for 4-3? Malkin scores his second of the night to push it to 5-3 and chase Holtby. Unreal little touch of the puck here to chip it in.
Goals on goals on goals. pic.twitter.com/m1cMS6yjyh— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 17, 2017
But then, just 30 seconds later, the Caps get one back, this game is more than officially off the rails. 5-4 Pittsburgh.
Caps 4th goal pic.twitter.com/fx8u8YM70U— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 17, 2017
Tie game, the Pens are on a power play but they let Nate Schmidt skate through them and David Warsofsky makes just a terrible play not to tie up the stick of Lars Eller in front of the net.
Caps tying goal pic.twitter.com/EguXljYbE6— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 17, 2017
But wait, of course that's just the beginning. Winnik trips Hornqvist into backup goalie Philipp Grabbauer and Malkin scores his hat-trick goal. 6-5. Review confirms no goalie interference. Close call, but hey don't trip a guy into your goalie if you don't want him to slide into your goalie.
Somehow, one of the most wild periods of the year comes to an end. Goals 6-3 Pens in the period. Huge effort by Pittsburgh. Really, if anything, a shame they have a couple of lax defensive moments to have this as a 1 goal game still, probably could be a lot better by now.
PIT-WSH after 2. Penguins dominated the second--6 goals is a bit much, but +3 in goals isn't crazy. pic.twitter.com/L1nf78djQA— Muneeb Alam (@muneebalamcu) January 17, 2017
Crosby gets his league-leading 27th of the year with a nice pass from Sheary, 7-5 after beating Backstrom to the goal.
27 for 87 pic.twitter.com/JHsjGRytXI— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 17, 2017
The Caps aren't done yet, Olli Maatta takes 2 minor penalties in a row and though Cole blocks Ovechkin's shot, Oshie finds the rebound to make it 7-6.
This game is a beautiful mess pic.twitter.com/v0Wf2WlZ4d— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 17, 2017
Washington now ties the game on the 14th goal of the evening, because why not. Murray can't control a rebound and his defense in front sure isn't going to offer a lot of help, Eller finds the puck and banks it home to make the game 7-7.
Eller goal pic.twitter.com/FEWhIe5cMx— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 17, 2017
Sheary gets a 2on1, looks off Crosby (bold) shoots, follows up his shot and scores! Incredible. 8-7.
Penguins win 8-7 in OT pic.twitter.com/0kMN7Emter— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 17, 2017
- Pens were pretty piss-poor in managing the puck. The loss of Letang makes things tougher since everyone else is asked to do more as they replace him by committee but the team (including forwards) were having difficulties making accurate outlets and exits.
- Braden Holtby was so dominant coming in, in the last 5 games (60 minutes per game for a nice, even 300 total minutes) he only gave up 3 goals - including 2 the Pens scored on him last week. Pittsburgh touched him up for 5 in the first 14 minutes of the second period. Jeeeeez.
- 3 assists for Daley on the night. He looked good on offensive end of the puck but had his share of sloppiness in his own end (like so many others).
- Hard to judge much about Murray's game, just one to forget. Other than the Williams goal, not much he could have prevented. Just one of those wild games. But the 7th goal (Eller's 2nd) was the first time I think I was ever thinking Murray was shaky and about to surrender one. Hard to blame him with a total lack of defense and structure....Just a game to forget and move on from.
- Caps did play yesterday and after jumping up 2-0 in this game hard to tell if they (maybe tired and definitely confident on a 9-game win streak) eased the foot off the gas as the Pens were finding a way to put their foot on the gas or what happened there. Either way, we'll take a 6 goal period any way it happens.
- Interesting to see the 2 teams lose all defensive form down an injury to their #1 RHD (Letang and John Carlson missed tonight's game after recent injuries). The Pens do appear a little better, long-term, if they had a key defensive injury.
- Caps fans are gonna be mad online about Hornqvist's night. First he hits Oshie up high (and hey, unpenalized head contact in a Pens/Caps game, ya don't say?) then Hornqvist falls into Grubauer on the go-ahead goal. Playoff-style player coming up big in a playoff-style game.
Man, what a game. It wasn't pretty, but beating the Caps (best team in the NHL coming into tonight) without Letang and Dumoulin is a huge win.