Penguins Hold Off Capitals 2-1 In Wild Game at Capital One Arena

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. The loss drops the Capitals season record to 20-10-3 (43 points). The Caps are back in action on Friday when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM. 

After a scoreless, but heated opening frame (more on that here), the Capitals would start the scoring with a goal from Lars Eller early in the second period. Sidney Crosby would notch a power play tally three minutes later for a 1-1 tie midway through the middle frame. The Penguins would add another score with less than a minute remaining to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead at the second intermission. The third period would go scoreless.

Braden Holtby (13-7-2, 2.90 GAA, .910 sv%) started between the pipes for Washington. Matt Murray (5-5-1, 3.95 GAA, .883 sv%) got the start for the visiting penguins. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Scratches: Andre Burakovsky, Chandler Stephenson and Tyler Lewington will be the scratches.

Tom Wilson wasted very little time in dropping his first Penguin of the night. Wilson would knock out Jamie Oleksiak just 55 seconds into the opening frame.

The fight may have been the result of unfinished business from last season when Penguins GM Jim Rutherford called-out Wilson for not fighting Oleksiak in Game 3 of the playoffs. More on that incident can be found here.

The first period would end up in a scoreless tie. Each side attempted 13 shots, with the Caps leading 8-7 in shots on goal. The Penguins were 0 for 2 on the power play while the Caps did not receive a power play in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Capitals would finally crack the seal on the scoring when Lars Eller found the back of the net at 6:38 of the middle frame. Tom Wilson was credited with the lone assist.

But the Penguins would get it back with a power play goal from Sidney Crosby at 9:15 of the second period. Crosby would deflect a pass off of his stick and then off his skate for the goal.

The Penguins would grab their first lead of the night when Bryan Rust scored at 18:58 of the second period. Crosby was initially credited with the score, but it was later determined that he did not touch the puck.

The period would end with the Penguins leading 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Penguins led 12-10 in SOG for the second period and 21-18 after 40 minutes of play. The Capitals were 0 for 3 and the Penguins 1 for 3 on the power play after two periods of play.

The Capitals had two very close calls at tying up the game, both trickling through Murray but not able to completely cross the goal line. The first came on a shot by Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The second close call came with about five minutes left in the game, but was saved just in time by a Pittsburgh defenseman.

After all was said and done, there was no scoring in the final frame, as the Penguins held on for the 2-1 win.


  • The Penguins were 1 for 4 and the Capitals 0 for 5 on the power play.
  • The loss ends the Capitals winning streak at five games.
  • Alex Ovechkin’s point and goal streak also ended.
  • Tom Wilson picked up his seventh assist of the season on Eller’s goal. He now has 16 points (9g, 7a) in 14 games.
  • The NHL box score is here.


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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to Penguins Hold Off Capitals 2-1 In Wild Game at Capital One Arena

  1. Pingback: Penguins at Capitals – Inside The Numbers: A Game Of Inches | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: “He Should Have Gotten An Instigator”: Sidney Crosby Thinks Alex Ovechkin Should Have Gotten a Penalty For Jawing With Him | NoVa Caps

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    Extremely annoying game… to say the least. Confess I’m salty since our chances would NOT cross the line and Pitt had nearly ALL the bounces. And annoyed since so many Pittsburgh fans were in attendance. I almost felt like we were in neutral territory rather than in DC. But that’s the trouble with 8:00 pm games. It’s too late for many fans to attend especially when they would get home too late when they have to get up at 5:00 am or even earlier.

  4. Pingback: Buffalo at Washington Preview: Capitals Reconvene With Sabres At Capital One On Friday Night | NoVa Caps

  5. Pingback: Washington at Pittsburgh Preview: Capitals Begin Four-Game Eastern Conference Road Trip Against Penguins on Tuesday | NoVa Caps

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