The Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center. The loss ended the Capitals five-game winning streak. This was the first of five meetings between the two teams this season.
Michael Latta, Stanislav Galiev and Nate Schmidt were the healthy scratches for tonight’s contest.
The Penguins dominated faceoffs in the first period, and for a majority of the game. The Capitals only goal came on a lucky double deflection of the puck, however the Capitals had good chances the entire game. Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Braden Holtby had pretty good games but Fleury was the better tender tonight. Washington outshot Pittsburgh 34-25 and outhit the Penguins 37-24. Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 274th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.
A feisty first few minutes for the start of this one, with a majority of the early play taking place in the Capitals zone. Chandler Stephenson was called for the games’ first penalty for an elbow to Penguins Olli Matta at the 6:09 mark. 15 seconds later Brooks Orpik was called for boarding Phil Kessel, giving the Pens a 5-on-3 for 1:45. The Capitals killed both penalties, however Karl Alzner was called for a high-stick just as the penalty kill expired, sending the Caps back on the penalty kill. The Caps would also kill the Alzner penalty. The first period would end scoreless. The Penguins led 14-13 in shots-on-goal.
The second period started off with more of a defensive feel by both teams. The Capitals first power play of the game came when the Penguins Kris Letang was called for slashing at 7:21 of 2nd. The Caps generated some decent pressure, but were unable to convert. The Capitals began to generate a fair number of 5-on-5 opportunities midway through the period. The Capitals went back on the power play when Tom Wilson drew a charging call from David Perron at 10:53 of 2nd. The Caps had several chances but again were unable to convert. The second period ended scoreless. The Capitals out-shot the Penguins 14-4 in the period.
The third period started with a lucky, but sweet dangle by Evgeny Kuznetsov, scoring at the 1:28 mark of 3rd.
The Penguins Beau Bennett would respond less than a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. The Penguins Phil Kessel would follow with a score at 3:49 of third to take a 2-1 lead. After a scoreless 40 minutes, 3 goals were scored in the first 3:49 of third period. The Capitals went back on the power play when Brooks Laich drew a tripping call from Ian Cole at 9:45 of 3rd, however the Capitals failed to concert. The Penguins added an empty net goal to make it 3-1.