Pittsburgh Pounds Capitals, 4-1, Ends Seven-Game Skid

Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals lost the Pittsburgh Penguins, who ended their seven-game losing streak (0-6-1), by a score of 4-1 at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night. The loss kept Washington one point out of a wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves in the loss.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Pittsburgh

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Dylan Strome — Marcus Johansson
Anthony Mantha — Lars Eller — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Trevor Van Riemsdyk — Erik Gustafsson
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Matt Irwin

Charlie Lindgren

Alexeyev made his season debut while Johansen was re-assigned to Hershey.

Injured: LW Carl Hagelin (hip, missed 15th straight game, out indefinitely); RW Tom Wilson (ACL, 15th, indefinite); C Nicklas Backstrom (hip, 15th, indefinite); RW Connor Brown (ACL, 11th, indefinite); RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body, sixth, indefinite); D John Carlson (lower-body, sixth, day-to-day)

Scratched: LW Joe Snively, C Connor McMichael

Pittsburgh’s Lines

Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Rickard Rakell
Brock McGinn — Jeff Carter — Danton Heinen
Filip Hallander — Ryan Poehling — Josh Archibald

Marcus Pettersson — Kris Letang
Pierre-Olivier Joseph — Jeff Petry
Brian Dumoulin — Jan Rutta

Casey DeSmith
Tristan Jarry

Injured: Teddy Blueger (upper-body, 13th, indefinite)

Scratched: D Chad Ruhwedel, C Samuel Poulin, RW Kasperi Kapanen

First Period



Shots: 10-7 Pittsburgh

Other notable stats: Pittsburgh won 68% of the faceoffs, did not score on the only power play of the first, and led 17-16 in hits in addition to 7-3 in takeaways. Washington led 7-4 in blocked shots.

Second Period


7:43, 1-0 Pittsburgh: Zucker got a loose puck around the boards at the goal-line, threw a shot on net, and the puck squeaked through the pads of Kuemper and across it.

12:53, 2-0 (SHG): After Carter broker up a zone entry and fed McGinn behind the defense, McGinn stepped in and wristed one through the legs of Kuemper again.

15:05, 3-0: After getting a pass from the high slot by Crosby, Petry waited for a screen to develop and blasted one past the glove of Kuemper from the point.

Shots: 20-18 Pittsburgh (11-10 Washington in second)

Other notable stats: Washington went 0-for-three on the power play while Pittsburgh was 0-for-two through 40 minutes. Washington led 26-23 in hits and 12-11 in blocked shots but Pittsburgh led 12-4 in takeaways.

Third Period


12:22, 3-1 Pittsburgh: Johansson buried a feed through the legs of DeSmith in front after Milano worked the puck around Petry behind the net and set him up.

Rust dropped Van Riemsdyk in a fight behind Washington’s net with 6:29 left.

18:24, 4-1 (empty-net goal): Guentzel threw one in from the blueline after Letang launched a pass to him from behind Pittsburgh’s net.

Shots: 28-25 Pittsburgh (including 8-7 in the third)

Other notable stats: Pittsburgh led 16-10 in takeaways and 19-18 in blocked shots but Washington led 34-32 in hits. Pittsburgh went 0-for-three on the man advantage while Washington was 0-for-four.

Next game: Friday vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NHL Network nationally)

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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37 Responses to Pittsburgh Pounds Capitals, 4-1, Ends Seven-Game Skid

  1. novafyre says:

    I’m sorry I watched it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just knew we’d be their get right game. I didn’t think it’d be this bad though. Injuries definitely play a role, but we can’t play defense for the life of us, while they were all over that. Our guys were getting straight up harassed out there.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I had a feeling, too. Eventually they were gonna win again.

    • Anonymous says:

      injuries??? the pens were down to 3 defensemen at one point!!! and we STILL couldn’t do anything.
      we got outworked by a better team.
      will 43/19/9/62/77 make a difference? sure…but this team, as it is, is destined for the cellar

      • KimRB says:

        Start the rebuild, please. We got some cap space. Take on a bad contract, or two, get some assets in a deep draft. I think we should have plenty of room. Take on a bad contract now, by the time Willy, Brown and Backy(?) get back, it’ll be deadline time, can ship a few contracts out.
        Ristolainen jumps to mind. Yes, I know he sucks, but if you get quality assets for eating his contract, it’d be worth it. And who knows? Caps like reclamation projects.

      • James W Lewis says:

        Come on – the Caps have an NHL worst injury situation. Nobody uses the injury excuse in the NHL, but that doesn’t mean that anyone could look at their injury list and conclude that we’re not able to ice much of a team. The Caps will improve when those players return – just not enough to make them any kind of SC contender.

    • KimRB says:

      Yeah, I don’t care if you’re Helen Keller, you could SEE this coming from a mile away. Pittsburgh could be mired in a 20 game losing streak, with half their team injured, and they’re still gonna bring their A+ game when facing the Caps.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    • novafyre says:

      Not a good night to be named Alex. Doubly bad if it’s both your names.

      • Anonymous says:

        He’s responsible for the first goal allowed that started it rolling the wrong way. Just couldn’t get the puck out of the zone after several tries. I can’t help but wonder if we would have won if LuJo played instead. Once again we keep McM up, when the better option would have been to send him down, and play LuJo. I honestly think the only reason why McM is with the club is financial. He’ll have a big hit if he goes down, and someone in the front office is trying to prevent that from happening because his family is depending on that. It’s the only thing that fits that I can think of that has any logic to it. Maybe someone has a better idea.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They’re just not playing hard at all. I watch them just sitting back and waiting when the opposition has the puck instead of engaging to win it back. Just frustrating to watch. I don’t think injuries can be the biggest blame when I see little effort on defense. This usually happens toward the end of games when their old butts are getting tired. We need a coaching change up and to get younger. These veterans we sign just ain’t doing the trick.

    • Anonymous says:

      But that lineup last night had a good amount of “young” guys in it……

      • KimRB says:

        Youngsters often defer to older players. They’re not going to start playing differently than vets like Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Eller etc. The youngsters will look to their leadership group to set the tempo, and right now that group looks old, slow and used up.
        I watched Alexeyev at Hershey last tear, and I noticed that when paired with Johansen, that he was ALWAYS deferring to AHL vet LJ.
        Real life isn’t an EA sports simulation. Young people are often afraid to rock the boat at their jobs.

        • Anonymous says:

          Going into this year everyone wanted this team to play the prospects and yet here we are playing the prospects. Now it’s because the rookies or youngsters don’t play the way they should because of the older players in the line up. Ah so we need to get rid of everyone that is 30 and above now and just field a 20-30 year old roster that’s now the problem got it.

          • KimRB says:

            Well, I hope you can dial back the snark a little bit, and have a genuinely fruitful conversation about this subject.

            “Ah so we need to get rid of everyone that is 30 and above now and just field a 20-30 year old roster”

            Yeah. That’s called a rebuild. You may have heard of such a thing (Yes, that’s snark. One good turn deserves another). Pretty much every Stanley Cup winner in the salary cap era has gone through one. The Caps have gone from champions, to division winners, to scraping into the playoffs. And they’ve lost 4 straight 1st round series. No other Caps team has 2 1st round series in a row. I’m not satisfied with mediocrity. Maybe you are.

      • Anonymous says:

        We need 16 year olds playing, dontchaknow?

        • KimRB says:

          Either that’s really weak snark, or you don’t know NHL rules

          • Jonathan says:

            It was playing “youth” that led to the loss imo. Or at least, the wrong youth, i.e. Alex Alex. Additionally, there is no proof that playing any ‘youth’ over a current vet will help us win any more games. It’s more likely we lose than win. And if you disagree with that, than which player are you subbing for which player?

          • Jonathan says:

            Additionally, I get tired of the “youth” comments with no substance behind the comment. Do you know how many #1 draft picks the Caps have had that have never played more than 20 NHL games in their career? At least 7. Just because you’re a ‘youth’ or just because you were drafted #1 doesn’t mean you’re an NHL player. It doesn’t follow logically.

            • KimRB says:

              Well, thanks for putting words in my mouth. What other fallacies do you have, besides strawman, and hasty generalizations?

              “Additionally, I get tired of the “youth” comments with no substance behind the comment.”

              I’ve only posted here a couple of weeks, but apparently I’m being asked to defend the comments of a large portion of the Capitals fan base.

              I’m in favor of a rebuild. They should have started the rebuild two years ago, but my guess is that they’re trying to stay competitive throughout Ovi’s chase of Gretzky’s record. If they started a rebuild when I said, they’d be a young, fast and presumably talented and exciting team the year Ovi breaks it. So since you put words in my mouth, I’ll return the favor. I’ll assume you’re fine with this mediocre Caps team that has lost 4 straight 1st round playoff series; a team record. The previous low standard was 2 years in a row.

              “And if you disagree with that, than which player are you subbing for which player?”

              Having PL as coach will hurt almost any youngster, who will suit up, if he plays them 8 minutes a night. Let’s sub in Todd Nelson, or Spencer Carbery as coach first, then we can revisit this.

              “Do you know how many #1 draft picks the Caps have had that have never played more than 20 NHL games in their career? At least 7.”

              Do you know that the Caps had 15 of 19 1st round picks, from 2000-2015, have careers in the NHL? That’s an excellent draft record. Compare it to other teams. Several of those were key parts of the Cup winning team such as Over, Backstrom, Carlson, Burakovsky, Kuznetsov and Vrana.I know Dallas fans would gladly trade with us over the same time period. Without our first round pucks, we don’t have a Cup, so your comment was ill-informed and inane.

            • KimRB says:

              I made a slight error in my last post. I said the Caps had 15 of 19 1st round picks from 2000-2015 make the NHL. That’s not correct. It was 16 of 19. The only 3 that didn’t make it were 2005 picks Sasha Pokulok and Joe Finley and 2008 pick Anton Gustafsson. Also, add Tom Wilson to the list of #1 picks that helped win the Cup.

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

  6. Diane Doyle says:

    Team seemed to run out of gas early. Our section was overrun by Penguins fans so I felt like I was in hostile territory. I felt I needed to leave my seat and take a walk along the concourse before it even was intermission.

  7. hockeydruid says:

    One UGLY game. This team has to many injured players and to many players that have not played together other than to practice or 1 or 2 games to really be a team that is gelled. At this point just put the same 18 guys on the ice at the same position and let them play.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And expect a different result? I think there is a word for that.

  9. DC Scappeli says:

    Horrible!!! But typical Caps though….this was the same team that beat the Oilers? What happened to the team D ? And where was the offense?

    Oh, and I hate the national broadcast crew bias. At least there was no Pierre McGuire slobbering all over the Pens, but it’s bad enough that Jonesy kept going on about Sheary and his chicken wing hit….yeah, no. Kept his arm IN, not an intentional cheap shot like he was insinuating. Jonesy was a horrible Caps player anyway, glad he got traded away. Moron.

  10. Lance says:

    Fire Laviolette!

    Since Laviolette came in the new Caps personnel has tended toward fast-skating, puck-moving, SOFT AS CHARMIN players. Mojo, Sheary, Sprong, Milano, Snively, TVR, Gustafsson, Jensen. I love Sheary and he belongs but overall we have too many of those guys who are easy to play against physically. With Wilson out we are total pushovers.

    BMac acquired these guys so he is to blame ultimately but also Laviolette wants this kind of team. With half the team getting badly injured something is clearly wrong with Laviolette’s style of play.

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