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Recap: Penguins beat Capitals in OT, clinch playoff berth

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The Pens finish the job in DC and clinch a 15th straight postseason berth

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Pregame

The Penguins welcome back Frederick Gaudreau from the injury list and keep their same lines otherwise with Tristan Jarry in net.

First period

Early on, the Capitals strike first. Evan Rodrigues gets called for sending the puck over the glass and T.J. Oshie tips in Justin Schultz’s point shot to make it 1-0.

Rodrigues would be lost for the game in a painful manner catching a Mike Matheson shot in the leg.

The Penguins tie the game before the end of the period. Kasperi Kapanen knocks down Nicklas Backstrom’s clearing attempt and quickly snipes the puck into the net to make it 1-1 late.

Shots end up 14-10 in the first.

Second period

Pittsburgh takes their first lead of the game in a temporary fashion with Gaudreau getting a slick pass from Jason Zucker and flicking it by Vitek Vanecek. 2-1 Pens.

30 seconds later the Capitals comeback with a Dmitry Orlov goal to tie the game at 2 off an offensive zone faceoff win by Backstrom.

Later in the period the Caps take a 3-2 lead off another offensive zone faceoff, this time by Evgeny Kuznetsov. Schultz throws a puck to the net and Daniel Sprong is able to out-fox Brian Dumoulin in front and deflects it home.

Before the period is out, the Penguins are able to tie it. Tom Wilson turns the puck to the middle of the ice, which is bad for him since Colton Sceviour is right there. Sceviour sends it down for Zach Aston-Reese who flips in a backhander to tie the game at 3.

Third period

The third is close until Jared McCann springs Kapanen. Zdeno Chara is somewhat in the picture but can’t turn in time and Kapanen is able to blast a shot in. 4-3.

The Caps pull their goalie late and Wilson is able to score from in front with 14 seconds left to get Washington a point.

Overtime

But a point is all the Caps will get. John Marino gets space on the 3v3 and wires a shot-pass for Jake Guentzel to give the Pens the win.

Some thoughts

  • A great game with playoff intensity, but minus some key players with the Pens without Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson on the shelf for the Caps.
  • Kasperi Kapanen looked great with two goals, one with skill, one with speed and a nice shot. That’s a bit what the Pens were missing in the past, and now they have that dimension.
  • Kris Letang could have turned an OTW into just a W with a post shot on a long range empty net shot. Close, but no cigar.
  • The Caps now fall to 17-1-5 in one goal games this season. Four of those six losses have been to the Pens. Pittsburgh has found a way to win the close games between these two teams,
  • Guentzel scored in OT, but before then the Pens first line was off the board before that point.
  • Nice to clinch a postseason berth for a franchise best 15th best season.