The story lines were as good as they come for the Capitals. “Penguins vs Capitals”, “Crosby vs Ovechkin” but most importantly, “Kuznetsov makes debut”. It was finally time for number 92 to grace the Verizon Center faithful. The Russian forward was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NHL entry draft. Capital fans believed Kuzy’s play mimicked that of captain Alex Ovechkin. His scoring ability and puck control are two of his biggest assets. When Kuznetsov finally arrived in D.C GMGM said “It’s like seeing the Loch Ness Monster, I couldn’t believe he was finally here”
The game started fast for both teams, first it was the Penguins. 46 seconds in, a pass from Crosby sprung Kunitz into a breakaway. Kunitz deked his way past Halak and went top shelf to give the Penguins a quick 1-0 lead.But the Capitals quickly responded. Just two minuets later the Capitals grinding line got their team on the board.
Eric Fehr tipped in a pass from Jason Chimera to knot things up at 1-1. But things weren’t slowing down just yet. A bad tripping penalty from Nicklas Backstrom sent the Penguins to the man advantage. The Penguins converted just a few seconds later. A slap shot from none other than Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead just four minuets into the game. A slash from Brooks Orpik sent the 2nd best power play to work. Good shots and good chances were all the Capitals would get. The first stanza would end with the Penguins leading the Capitals 2-1.
The second started with strong pressure from the Capitals. After a scramble around the net Crosby was called off for a holding penalty. Despite the good looks the Capitals couldn’t convert on the man advantage (0/2). The one plus about the PP was Kuznetsov saw power play time with Backstrom and Ovechkin. But the Capitals were given another shot at the power play. A tripping penalty from the guys in white gave the Capitals another chance to tie things up. The Capitals weren’t going to let another supreme opportuinty slip by them.
Even though it looks as if Brooks Laich was the goal scorer, it was actually the Swede. Nicklas Backstrom’s pass was tipped in by a Penguins defender to tie things up at 2-2 (1/3). But the Capitals wouldn’t hold onto a tie for long. A sequence of awkward bounces left Kris Kunitz with an open net. Kunitz would tip in his second of the night to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead. The second would end with the Capitals trailing the Penguins 3-2.
Fast and fierce was the tone of the 3rd period. The Penguins were playing as if they were down by two goals. A strong for-check and good passes left the Penguins with strong offensive zone. time. Near the midway mark of the stanza, Jason Chimera was called for high-sticking. The Capitals PK was going to face the top power play unit for the third time of the night trailing 3-2. But the Capitals stood tall, killing the power play.
As the game was winding down the Capitals caught the Penguins on a bad line change, soon after the Penguins were called for too many men on the ice. The Capitals were headed to the power play with 2:07 left in the game, trailing by one. As Verizon Center stood to their feet, Halak made his way to the bench to give the Capitals an extra attacker. The Capitals couldn’t figure out young goalie Zatkoff in the final minuets. Penguins win, again, 3-2.