Series Stands Even as Caps Fall to Pens

MoJo and Pens GoalieThe Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 tonight at the Verizon Center. While the game was fast paced, the Capitals did not play to their potential and yielded six power play opportunities to the visitors.

The Capitals and the Penguins are now tied 1-1 in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoff series. The Capitals now head northward to Pittsburgh for games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday nights at the CONSOL Energy Center, puck drop is 8 pm. 

CaptureThe starting lines for the Caps:

Offensive Lines:
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie
Johannson-Kuznetsov-Williams
Chimera-Richards-Burakovsky
Winnik-Beagle-Wilson

Defensive Pairs:
Orpik-Carlson
Alzner-Niskanen
Schmidt-Chorney

period1

At 4:13 Brooks Orpik put a big hit on Olli Maata in our defensive zone earning two minutes in the box for an interference call. Maatta, clearly woozy from the hit was led off the ice by team mates and retired to the Penguins locker room. The penalty put the Capitals on the PK and successfully staved off a score.

Despite a somewhat lackluster first period the Caps did manage multiple shot attempts and five shots on goal with two each from Matt Niskanen and T.J. Oshie and one from Evgeny Kuznetsov. At 16:29 the Penguins Ben Lovejoy was called for slashing as Evgeny Kuznetsov was making a rush on the goal to launch a shot. While the Caps got some good looks, only T.J. Oshie was able to lob an effective shot, blocked by Pens goaltender Matthew Murray. The Pens maximized their strength on speed and seemed to control the ice throughout most of the first period. The first period would end in a 0-0 tie with the Pens leading in shots on goal 14-5 while the Caps won 70% of the face offs and totaled 13 hits.

period2

The Penguins historically own the second period and led off with a strong period while the Caps, well, they decided to come late to the party with goalie Braden Holtby making some incredible saves. The Pens went 0/4 on power play opportunities during the period and fortunately were unable to light the lamp. The first penalty came early, at 1:02 into the period with a holding call on Kuznetsov in the defensive zone.

At 7:08 in the period Penguins Nick Bonino snapped a backward pass to Carl Hagelin who punched in the puck for the first score of the game.

Finally, the Caps seem to pick up their level of play when Ovechkin makes the team’s first official shot on goal at 14:47 into the period. Culminating in a puck scrum at the net with Oshie and Kuznetsov both taking shots. While one of Kuznetsov’s found the net, it was immediately called back for interference putting the Pens on yet another PP.

The period ended with the Pens up 1-0 and leading in shots on goal 28-10.

period3

Caps get a power play early in the period and successfully [thankfully] convert it to a power play goal when Marchus Johannson flips a wrister past the Pens goaltender at 4:08. Both John Carlson and Kuznetsov are credited with the assists.

The @washcaps tie the game at 1 on this goal by @mjohansson90. #StanleyCup https://t.co/MgFwJSZVWM

But the Pens Eric Fehr (former Capital) upped the ante with a launch to the corner to light the lamp and allow the Pens to recover their lead.

The Pens final score serves as the game winning goal as they take the second game of the series. The Pens held the Capitals to 10 shots on goal in the first and second periods and ultimately out-shot the Caps 35-24.

By Stephanie Judge

About Stephanie Judge

C-A-P-S Caps Caps Caps!! A lover of all things Capitals (especially T.J. Oshie) Stephanie is an avid fan follow her on Twitter @stpjudge for her latest hockey adventures.
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2 Responses to Series Stands Even as Caps Fall to Pens

  1. *linchpin

  2. Jerry says:

    The Caps embarassed themselves in this game. This is the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs How can a talented team put up 5 shots in the 1st period and 5 more in the 2nd period. They played better in the 3rd period. The penalty kill and goalie played well. The 1st and 2nd line did nothing. Trotz was honest in his assessment. The Caps lacked compete and did not fight for the puck in the corners. How often this season have we seen this…no shots through two periods. What is it with the team? Where is the intensity and passion? More importantly where is the leadership?
    Ovi has been tight in the first two games. He had 4 opportunities from 5-7 feet and did not convert one of them. He passed up shots in game 2 third period that he would take. Even the sniper has become a fancy dan. This game raises the question whether the CAPs have the heart to be a champion.

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