Capitals Pound Penguins, 5-2; Richard Panik Posts Second Consecutive Multi-Point Effort; Nic Dowd Nets Two

Photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals pounded the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday afternoon. The victory lifted the Capitals two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division with both teams down to 14 games left by the end of the day. Goaltender Braden Holtby made 26 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Lines at Penguins

The Capitals made no lineup changes on forward and defense from their 6-5 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Defenseman Radko Gudas remained out of the lineup.

First Period

Center Nic Dowd one-timed one from the slot after getting a feed from forward Garnet Hathaway, who extended his point streak to three where he has two goals and three points, from behind the net to open the scoring for the Capitals 1:52 in. With an assist, forward Richard Panik also extended his point streak to five games, where he has one goal and five points.

Center Nicklas Backstrom roofed on to the top corner in front of the net after forward Jakub Vrana sent him behind the Penguins’ defense to make it 2-0 at 16:16.

Panik potted one in from the side of the goal after defenseman Nick Jensen fed him wide open to finish a three-way passing play to extended the lead to 3-0 with 1:22 left in the first. It marked Panik’s second consecutive multi-point game.

The Capitals led 12-6 in shots, 15-8 in hits, 6-4 in blocked shots, and didn’t get a power-play in the opening 20 minutes.

The Penguins won 61% of the faceoffs and didn’t convert on two power-plays in the first.

Neither team had a takeaway while both were credited with three takeaways through one.

Second Period

Holtby robbed center Jared McCann with a low right pad save on a penalty shot with 1:22 left. He has now stopped five of the seven penalty shots he has faced in his career.

The Capitals led 19-13 in shots, 38-18 in hits, 10-7 in blocked shots, didn’t convert on one power-play, and had only three giveaways while the Penguins had seven through 40 minutes.

The Penguins led 3-2 in takeaways, went 0-for-3 on the power-play, and won 53% of the draws in the first two periods.

Each team fired seven shots in net in the second period.

Third Period

Dowd buried a feed on a two-on-one shorthanded rush with forward Carl Hagelin high glove on goaltender Matt Murray for his second of the game to make it 4-0 34 seconds into the third. His three shorthanded goals this season are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL. This was Dowd’s first career multi-goal game and second multi-point game of the season (two assists in Capitals’ 5-2 win at San Jose Sharks on December 3).

Captain Sidney Crosby tapped in a pass from forward Conor Sheary at the doorstep on the forecheck to dent the Capitals’ lead to 4-1 at 5:09.

Center Evgeni Malkin wristed one from out high past the glove of Holtby on the power-play to cut the Capitals’ lead in half with 7:44 left.

Forward T.J. Oshie responded 56 seconds later with a wrist shot to the top right corner after Backstrom fed him from behind the net to extend the lead to 5-2. The goal was his 26th of the season and sixth in his past eight games vs. the Penguins.

The Capitals led 45-25 in hits, 17-10 in blocked shots, didn’t convert on one power-play, and had only five giveaways while the Penguins had seven.

The Penguins led 15-9 in third period shots, 8-2 in takeaways, went one-for-five on the power-play, and won 53% of the draws.

Each team fired 28 shots on net.

The Capitals conclude their three-game Northeastern road trip against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. Action from KeyBank Center can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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6 Responses to Capitals Pound Penguins, 5-2; Richard Panik Posts Second Consecutive Multi-Point Effort; Nic Dowd Nets Two

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    THAT team can do some damage in the postseason. Hope they found something. Need to repeat in Buffalo on Monday.

    • Diane Doyle says:

      They play 3 bad teams in a row so golden opportunity to start a winning streak. But will they?

  2. Marky says:

    That’s how you do it. Bottle that please!

  3. Marky says:

    2,3,4 lines clicking pretty good. 1st line kinda meh but they defended well leaned on them and a bit of hitting too which is nice. Holtby looked good but didn’t have to work too hard which, again was very nice.

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