Penguins Top Capitals, 5-4 (OT); Both Teams Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Berth, Tied For East Division Lead; Dmitry Orlov Records Two Points

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-4 in overtime at Capital One Arena on Thursday night. The loss meant that the Capitals are now tied with the Penguins for first place in the East Division with a game in hand.

Both teams clinched a spot in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the win and the New York Rangers’ 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. It was the Capitals’ seventh consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth and 13th in the past 14 seasons. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 30 saves in the loss.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Penguins

Photo: @Capitals

Defenseman Justin Schultz, who missed three games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup, replacing defenseman John Carlson, who was a game-time decision due to a lower-body injury and did not play. Captain Alex Ovechkin missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

Center Evgeni Malkin (lower-body injury) and forward Brandon Tanev (upper-body injury) were out for the Penguins.

First Period

12 seconds into the first power play and 7:27 into the game, forward T.J. Oshie tipped in Justin Schultz’s one-timer from up top in the slot to break the ice for the Capitals. The power-play goal was Oshie’s 11th of the season, which is tied for second in the NHL. The primary assist was Schultz’s 17th, which ranks fourth among NHL defensemen, including eight on the power play.

After picking off Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom’s indirect pass from the wall, forward Kasperi Kapanen ripped a shot glove-side on Vanecek to tie it with 4:33 left.

The Capitals led 11-1 in hits, 4-2 in takeaways, had two giveaways while the Penguins had four, and scored on their lone power play of the period.

The Penguins led 14-10 in shots, 9-6 in blocked shots, won 57% of the draws, and did not convert on their only man advantage of the first.

Second Period

Forward Frederick Gaudreau tucked in forward Jason Zucker’s feed from the half-wall past the right pad of Vanecek all alone in front to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead at 8:32.

30 seconds later, defenseman Dmitry Orlov blasted one from up top off of a faceoff win by Backstrom. Orlov’s shot trickled past the blocker of goaltender Tristan Jarry to tie it.

Forward Daniel Sprong tipped in Schultz’s shot off of the faceoff win by the center Evgeny Kuznetsov to give the Capitals the lead back with 4:53 left.

Forward Zach Aston-Reese slid one through the five-hole of Vanecek on the backhand after forward Colton Sceviour picked off Schultz’s clearing attempt along the boards and fed him all alone down low to tie it again with 1:49 left.

The Capitals led 27-25 in shots, including 17-11 in the second, 20-2 in hits, 6-5 in takeaways, had six giveaways while the Penguins had seven, and struck on one of two power plays in the first 40 minutes.

The Penguins led 12-10 in blocked shots, won 54% of the draws, and failed to convert on two power plays through two.

Third Period

Kapanen went to the roof from the right dot over the glove of Vanecek after getting a bank pass off of the boards by center Jared McCann from the defensive zone to give the Penguins the lead with 9:05 left.

Forward Tom Wilson, who extended his point streak to three games (one goal, three points), slipped one through the five-hole of Jarry with 14.3 seconds left in regulation after getting a feed from Kuznetsov below the goal-line to tie it at four. Backstrom earned his third assist of the game on the play. The goal was the Capitals’ first of the season with the goalie pulled.

The Capitals led 37-35 in shots, 32-14 in hits, 6-5 in takeaways, had eight giveaways while the Penguins had nine, and struck once on three power plays.

The Penguins led 9-8 in third-period shots, 9-8 in takeaways, won 51% of the draws, and failed to convert on three power plays.

Each team was credited with 14 blocked shots and nine giveaways.


Forward Jake Guentzel tapped in a feed by defenseman John Marino at the back door into a wide-open net to win it for the Penguins 2:11 into overtime.

The Capitals led 2-1 in overtime shots and 37-35 in overall shots.

The Capitals and Penguins play again on Saturday night. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington locally or NHL Network nationally 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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2 Responses to Penguins Top Capitals, 5-4 (OT); Both Teams Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Berth, Tied For East Division Lead; Dmitry Orlov Records Two Points

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tommie & Kuzy deserved their own post for that late goal – wow!

  2. Pingback: Friday Caps Clips: Playoff-Bound

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