Capitals Earn Huge 6-3 Win In Pittsburgh; Orlov Sets Career-High With 11th Goal Of Season

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals topped the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 6-3 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday afternoon to get within four points behind of them for third in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand and six shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with each team having played 71 games this season. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Lines at Penguins

Graphic: @Capitals

With left-wing Conor Sheary out, right-wing Garnet Hathaway took his spot in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning with a non COVID-19-related illness.

Scratched: LHD Michal Kempny, LW Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LHD Matt Irwin

Injured: Sheary (non-COVID-19 related illness, missed first game, out day-to-day), LW Carl Hagelin (eye, 15th, indefinite); LW Joe Snively (upper-body, 15th, week-to-week)

First Period

45 seconds in, right-wing Bryan Rust pounced on left-wing Jake Guentzel’s rebound at the side of the goal with nothing but net to look at after center Evgeni Malkin fed Guentzel from behind the net to make it 1-0 Pittsburgh.

16 seconds later, right-wing Marcus Johansson tapped home a loose puck in front at the post after right-wing T.J. Oshie threw it at the net from behind and defenseman Brian Dumoulin fell asleep with the biscuit in front of him to tie the game. The goal marked the fastest goal following an opponents goal this season for the Capitals. It’s the fourth time this season they have scored a goal within a minute of an opponent’s goal. Johansson’s last goal as a Capital came on April 8, 2017 against the Boston Bruins.

After winning a defensive zone draw, defenseman Dmitry Orlov took a cross-ice feed from center Johan Larsson, zipped into the offensive zone, and blasted one to the glove side of goaltender Tristan Jarry to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 7:24. He set new personal career high in goals in a season with his 11th. Orlov has additionally reached the 30-point mark for the third time in his career and first time since 2017-18.

Center Jeff Carter tucked home a backhand shot from the left post after Samsonov denied center Evan Rodrigues’ drive to the net from the side to tie it with 86 seconds left in the period.

A minute later, center Brian Boyle roofed one under the bar from the side after defenseman Kris Letang fed him from up top to give the Penguins the advantage.

The Capitals led 2-1 in takeaways, 18-14 in blocked shots, won 54% of the faceoffs, and had three giveaways while the Penguins tallied four in the first.

The Penguins led 14-9 in shots, 9-2 in blocked shots, and did not score on two power plays through 20 minutes.

Second Period

Captain Alex Ovechkin hammered one from the top of the left dot after defenseman John Carlson fed him from up high to tie it on a five-on-three man advantage 4:49 into the second. With his 44th goal of the season, the 36-year-old tied Gordie Howe for the second-most goals in NHL history by a player aged 36 or older in a season. He now just trails Teemu Selanne (48 in 2006-07, when he was 36). Carlson now has five points (two goals) in his last two games. Ovechkin’s tally marks his first career goal against Jarry, the 158th goaltender Ovechkin has scored on in his career. There have been 6,720 skaters in NHL history with 158 or fewer goals in their careers. With goal a goal against his 158th different goaltender, Ovechkin has passed Ron Francis for the fourth-most goaltenders scored on in NHL history. Ovechkin now just trails Jaromir Jagr (178), Patrick Marleau (177) and Mark Messier (164) on the all-time list.

The Capitals led 27-25 in shots (including 17-11 in the middle frame) in addition to hits, won 60% of the draws, scored once on three power plays, and earned four giveaways while the Penguins had six through 40.

The Penguins led 17-5 in blocked shots, 6-4 in takeaways, and failed to score on two opportunities on the man advantage in the first two stanzas.

Third Period

After the puck rimmed around the boards, right-wing Tom Wilson took flight on a two-on-one with Ovechkin and whipped a shot top corner on Jarry down the wing from the left dot to give the Capitals the lead with 8:25 left. Wilson’s five game-winning goals this season match a career high (2019-20: five game-winning goals) and currently rank tied for first on the team (Ovechkin: five game-winning goals). Defenseman Justin Schultz picked up the primary assist on Wilson’s goal. 10 of Schultz’s 14 assists this season have been primary assists. Since joining Washington last season, 78.4% of Schultz’s assists have been primary assists (29 of 38), and his 29 primary assists rank fourth on Washington during that span

Kuznetsov sent the puck down into the empty net on the penalty kill and gave the Capitals a 5-3 lead with 1:41 to go. The 29-year-old has points in 15 of last 16 games (eight goals, 19 points).

Defenseman Martin Fehervary took an indirect feed from Wilson along the boards and the puck to the empty net to make it 6-3 with 27 seconds left. The goal was his second straight game with a goal and his seventh of the season. Fehervary is one of eight rookie defensemen in franchise history to score seven goals in a season.

The Capitals led 45-32 in shots (including 19-7 in the third), 39-33 in hits, won 52% of the draws, scored once on four power plays, and earned six giveaways while the Penguins had nine.

The Penguins led 20-11 in blocked shots, 9-8 in takeaways, and failed to score on three opportunities on the man advantage.

The Capitals earned their fifth straight road win and improve to 22-7-5 on the road this season. Washington’s .721 road points percentage ranks first in the NHL.

Next game: Sunday vs. Boston Bruins (1:30 PM ET, TNT)

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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3 Responses to Capitals Earn Huge 6-3 Win In Pittsburgh; Orlov Sets Career-High With 11th Goal Of Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    Much better! Caps took over the third period. You can win a lot of hockey games like that.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    One atrocious period for Sammy. Not sure if two very good periods makes up for it in the grand scheme of things.

  3. steven says:

    OMG…Johansson scored! Will wonders never cease. Figured that crosby would act out and he did and once again nothing happened. When you punch a player for no reason other than you are a bully you should get a game misconduct. Truly that the refs and league let him get away with his juvenile and harmful behavior. If I knew Wilson would not get fined and suspended I would like to see him nock that juvenile bully into tomorow! But other tha that it wasa a great game!!

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