WASHINGTON, DC — TJ Oshie absolutely called it in his rinkside update interview with Mike Vogel today when he said, “These [games] get physical, they get nasty.”
Tonight’s game started off with a bang when Tom Wilson one hit and KO’d Pittsburgh’s Jamie Oleksiak, when they dropped the gloves just 55 seconds into the first period. Oleksiak never came back after that fight and ended up only playing nine seconds of the game.
But the fun wasn’t over yet, Ovechkin got into his own altercation with Chris Letang behind the Pittsburgh net later in the period. You could tell from the start that there was absolutely no love lost in this game tonight. Both Ovechkin and Letang were both sent off for roughing, as the referees looked to regain control of this game.
But the referees still had their hands full all night with continuous scuffles and chirping between these two rivals. Through three periods both teams combined for 13 penalties. But both penalty kill squads were up to the challenge tonight only allowing one goal on all those power play opportunities.
When asked if going zero for five on the power play impacts their momentum in a game like this, Lars Eller said, “I think we were driving the play and probably had more scoring chances…just a tight game and we were on the wrong side of it today.”
But in these types of gritty games goaltending is paramount. And both Braden Holtby and Matt Murray were up to the test tonight. Both goalies combined for a total of 59 saves on 62 shots tonight and gave their respective teams a good chance to win the hockey game.
But in the end, luck was not on the Washington Capitals side tonight. They had a couple of heartbreakingly close no-goals in the third period.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was inches away from tying it up in the third period:
And then Pittsburgh’s Marcus Petterson made an incredible diving save to keep his team up 2-1 late in the final period.
Pittsburgh is now 2-1 this season against the Capitals, but Washington will have another chance to even this series when the two teams meet again on March 12th.
By Charlie DiPasquale