Penguins Clobber Capitals 6-2, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

After an anxiety-filled Game 1 loss on Thursday night, the Capitals were determined to even their second round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, their final game at home before heading to the Steel City for Games 3 & 4. Despite a strong start, the Caps imploded in the second and third periods to drop the second game of the series, and now find themselves in a 2-0 series deficit.

Period 1

After playing the first period of Game 1 poorly and sloppily, the Capitals came out of the gates absolutely swinging in the opening frame of Game 2. From the first puck drop, the Capitals outplayed the Penguins in every facet of the game. They had several scoring opportunities and forced the Penguins to ice the puck on many occasions. Despite having two power play opportunities, the Caps could not get the puck past Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. They led in shots 16-7, and won 75% of the faceoffs, something that they struggled with during their first round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. While they did put 16 shots on Pittsburgh’s net, they also had 13 blocked. Pittsburgh could only muster five shots on Caps netminder Braden Holtby through the first twenty minutes and went without a power play opportunity.

Period 2

After coming out of the first intermission still playing with the same intensity as in the first, the Caps’ momentum came to a screeching halt after 40-year old Matt Cullen knocked a blocked shot past Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and took it in for a breakaway shorthanded goal. Just moments later, on the same power play, Matt Niskanen was left all alone in the slot and put a rocket past Marc-Andre Fleury to knot the game at 1-1. Despite this, the Penguins would take the lead with just under seven minutes left in the frame on a shot from Penguins forward Phil Kessel, on an assist from Sidney Crosby. Jake Guentzel would put the Penguins up by two with an odd-man break. Despite the poor finish, the Caps still led the Pens in shots 27-14, and still had the better success in the faceoff dot, having won 61% of the game’s faceoffs through 40 minutes.

The second frame also saw the Penguins get their first power play opportunity after Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik took a hooking minor. The Caps would successfully kill it off and despite their advantage in shots and faceoff wins, they had 13 giveaways during the period. The period also saw Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole get away with a dangerous board on Tom Wilson.

Period 3

After finishing the second period on a sour note, the Caps did not change much in the final frame. Phil Kessel scored his second of the game on a power play after Kevin Shattenkirk took a delay of game penalty, putting the Pens up 4-1. Nicklas Backstrom would answer for the Capitals minutes later, but it would prove to be nothing more than a minor dent in the Penguins’ lead, as Evgeni Malkin redirected a shot from Ian Cole past Grubauer. The goal was initially waved off after referee Dan O’Rourke called a goaltender interference on Malkin, but after Penguins’ Head Coach Mike Sullivan challenged the play, it was overturned, giving the Pens a commanding 5-2 lead. The Caps would fail to shorten the Penguins’ lead despite a late power play, and Jake Guentzel scored on an empty net for his second of the game. The Caps dropped their second straight game at home and of the series, putting themselves in a 2-0 hole heading into Game 3 in Pittsburgh.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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5 Responses to Penguins Clobber Capitals 6-2, Take 2-0 Series Lead

  1. Ron Bove says:

    Couldn’t have said better myself. They just collapsed. They have to win the next two or you can stick a fork in them, they’ll be done. (again)

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