The rivalry continued on Wednesday night between the Penguins and Capitals. Every game between the Caps and Penguins is hard-hitting, fast, physical and always intense. The Penguins won decisively in the last meeting between these two teams on November 20th. The Penguins entered the night red-hot at home winning 10 straight at CONSOL energy center. The Capitals we’re looking to take the energy out of the CONSOL center fast. Alex Ovechkin entered the night leading the league in goals with 33. Sydney Crosby leads the league in points with 67.
Both goaltenders found themselves working hard early. Each team created many chances in the first 10 minuets. Neuvirth made a couple of important and good saves early. The Penguins found themselves with many chances from the point but couldn’t cash in. Early on spectators knew that this game would be decided by inches.
12:48 into the first period the number one power play in the league would get its chance. Joel Ward would go to the box for tripping Sydney Crosby. 30 seconds into the Power Play the Penguins found the Capitals with puck possession in their zone. A 2-on-1 quickly developed against the Penguins. Brooks Laich and Karl Alzner entered the Penguins zone shorthanded. Being down a man didn’t matter for the Capitals. Brooks Laich would wrist one top shelf past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Caps a 1-0 edge. The Capitals killed off the rest of the Penguins power play. After the number one power play unit came off the ice the second best came on. Nick Drazenovic would be called off for tripping against Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals created good zone time and good chances during the power play, but couldn’t cash in. The first period would end with the Capitals leading 1-0. The Penguins led in SOG in the 1st with 17, the Capitals mustard up 10.
The 2nd Stanza opened with both Capitals and Penguins showing off their high-octane offenses. Each team ripping 5-6 shots in the first minuet. Half way through the 2nd the Penguins found themselves on a lucky 4-on-2 break. Kris Letang would attempt to pass the puck to Kunitz but hit a Capital player instead to trickle pass Michael Neuvirth to knot things up at 1-1 a piece with 30 minuets left in the game. 15 minuets through the 2nd the Capitals defense men Dmitri Orlov would start a sequence of beautiful passing to Marcus Johansson who would send it back door to Jason Chimera who would complete the tic-tac-toe and tap in the empty net goal to give the Capitals a 2-1 advantage. The Penguins didn’t enjoy the Capitals having a lead in their barn. Strong offensive zone time would lead to Taylor Pyatt scoring from the slot to knot things back up at 2-2. The Capitals captain would find himself on a break away but wouldn’t be able to convert because of a diving penguins player. The 2nd stanza would end all knotted up at 2 a piece.
At the beginning of the 3rd the Penguins pressured the Capitals. The strong pressure would lead to Mike Green tripping Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins would head back to the Power Play. But the Capitals would kill the Penguins PP with nothing but a few shot’s on net. After a beautiful finesse move by Troy Brouwer the Capitals took an offensive zone faceoff. The Capitals started to work the system. Marcus Johansson would get another helper for passing the puck back door to no other than Captain clutch. Alex Ovechkin would wrist a beautiful shot past Fleury top shelf to give the Capitals a 3-2 edge with 10 minuets left in the game. But the Penguins would answer back. Bradon Sutter would send a backhand pass to Jussi Jokinen who would send one past Michael Neuvirth to tie things back up at 3-3 with 8 minuets in regulation. As the game winds down tied 3-3 Evgeni Malkin has an amazing shift. With strong offensive zone time Malkin sends a pass to Olli Maatta at the point and Maatta would slap one past Neuvirth to give the Penguins a crucial 4-3 lead with a minuet left in regulation. The Capitals would try with an empty net but nothing would happen. Penguins would hold on to win 4-3. Capitals lose third straight as the Penguins win 11th straight at home.
The Capitals were out shot by the Penguins 37-34.