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Pens-Caps Recap: Capitals Get Late Goal to Eke Out Win Over Penguins

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With a 4-game losing streak following them, the Penguins were looking to get a much needed W against a familiar foe.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Lineups:

So... Daniel Sprong is scratched in favor Zach Aston-Reese. Is anyone really surprised at this point? Garrett Wilson is in Derek Grant’s old spot as well.

1st Period

The Penguins were penalized two-and-a-half minutes in. Jamie Oleksiak was sent off for slashing. The penalty was successfully killed by the Pens.

A couple of chances, mostly for the Capitals, have been had throughout the period.

The Penguins were given a power-play with eight minutes left in the period. Pittsburgh trotted out their new-look man advantage and Sidney Crosby struck first to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. An errant pass found the stick of Jack Johnson and Double-J hit Crosby for a good finish and an early lead.

The Penguins believed they had scored their second goal, but instead were penalized for “goalie interference” which should have been called embellishment on Braden Holtby. Carl Hagelin was the guilty party. This penalty would be killed off as well.

The horn would sound soon after and the Penguins headed into the locker room with the narrowest of leads.

Some stats after one:

2nd Period

Chances were aplenty for the Penguins at the end of the first period and at the beginning of this period as well. At the very least, the Penguins look like they have much more pep in their step.

With 13:27 left in the 2nd frame, Sidney Crosby was cited for hooking Chandler Stephenson, giving the Capitals their third power-play. 36 seconds into the power-play, Alex Ovechkin, from his residence on the left circle, sniped one home to equalize.

Moments later, Garrett Wilson drew a penalty on Michal Kempny. While on the power-play, it was a clustered mess for the Penguins. So much so, that Jake Guentzel was penalized for tripping Chandler Stephenson in the defensive zone.

Ironically, the Penguins were creating much better scoring chances on this penalty kill than they did on their own power-play moments before.

After that penalty kill, Evgeni Malkin would be penalized for goaltender interference after crashing into Holtby’s crease to try and take the lead. The Penguins PKers did their job once again, returning the game to even strength.

The period would end with both teams now even on the scoreboard, setting things up for a dramatic third and final regulation period.

Stats after two periods:

3rd Period

Holding was the penalty that was called on Travis Boyd with 17:24 left in the game.

T.J. Oshie, who had been taking a beating throughout the game, was the recipient of an elbow to the head from Evgeni Malkin. Malkin given a five-minute major (served by Patric Hornqvist) and was subsequently ejected from the game.

The Penguin penalty-killers, as they were throughout the night, were superb on this five-minute kill.

Chaos and creativity ensued as time in the period dwindled. Chances were being exchanged on both sides of the ice. However, the Penguins seemed to control the offensive flow more than Washington during this 5-10 minute stretch.

With 1:15 left in the game, John Carlson found T.J. Oshie and buried it to take a 2-1 lead.

The Oshie goal would put a bow on this one and the Capitals would take the game by a score of 2-1.

Postgame Thoughts

  • Posts. Posts for everyone tonight. Five total posts were hit by Pittsburgh Oh, what a difference just one of them would have made.
  • Hey, at least the Penguins didn’t give up 5+ goals tonight. Take the victories where you can get them! The Penguins took control of the game as it went on and, in my opinion, deserved the win. They outplayed Washington and if it wasn’t for the aforementioned posts and a certain goaltender, they probably would have gotten a comfortable victory.
  • The Malkin hit will probably be the biggest discussion point from the game. Will he get a call from DoPS? Only time will tell.
  • Casey DeSmith had another strong game tonight. The Penguins’ biggest nemesis of the night was Braden Holtby He also gave a splendid performance against his divisional foe. Much like he has done in the past, Holtby seemed to rise up when it mattered most to shut the door against the Penguins.
  • You can’t win all of ‘em. And even though the Penguins’ losing streak now stands at five games, there were visible signs of progress and momentum that can be taken into heir next contest.
  • That next contest will be on Saturday night, when the team returns home to face the Arizona Coyotes.