Capitals Rally Falls Short, Lose To Penguins, 4-3; Alex Ovechkin Scores 42nd Goal Of The Season

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3 Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The loss drops the Capitals record to 34-32-8 (76 points) on the season.

After a scoreless first frame, the Penguins added two goals in the second period and a goal early in the final frame to take a 3-0 lead. The Capitals finally dented the twine early in the third period with a goal from Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin added a power play tally with less than seven minutes remaining in the game to make it 3-2.

Dylan Strome scored the tying goal with less than three minutes left in regulation, but the The Penguins regained the lead with less than 90 seconds remaining to make it 4-3, the final.


Darcy Kuemper (21-22-0-5, 2.74 GAA, .912 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Capitals. Casey DeSmith (13-15-0-4, 3.11 GAA, .907 sv%) got the start in goal for the Penguins. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Tom Wilson
Aliaksei Protas — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Anthony Mantha — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Craig Smith
Conor Sheary — Nic Dowd — Aube-Kubel

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin — Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren


The Penguins were the benefactors of two early power plays in the first 10 minutes of play, but the Capitals 5th-raked penalty kill was up to the task, killing both of the Penguins’ early man advantages.

The Capitals were awarded their first man advantage with 5:32 remaining in the first period, but were unable to convert.

There was no score after 20.

The Capitals controlled possession in the early going, but the Penguins took control at the 8 min. mark. The Penguins led in five-on-five shot attempts, 17-10, scoring chances, 10-5, high-danger chances, 8-3 and xGF 1.39 to .65.


The Penguins finally broke the seal on the scoring midway through the final frame. Ryan Poehling roofed a shot off the breakaway at the 10:10 mark of the second to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins quickly made it 2-0. Chad Ruhwedel dented the twine for his first goal of the season at 12:10 of the middle frame.

Rasmus Sandin and Archibald dropped the gloves late in the period.

And that was it for the middle frame.


The Penguins extended their lead to 3-0 early in the final frame. Jake Guentzel scored a power play goal just 27 seconds into the final frame. Guentzel collected a loose puck and ended up all alone on a breakaway, beating Kuemper five-hole.

The Capitals finally got on the scoreboard early in the the final frame with a four-on-four goal from Tom Wilson (9) at 5:19 of the third period.

The Capitals closed the gap to 3-2 on a power play goal from Alex Ovechkin (42) at 13:18 of the final frame.

The Capitals tied the game with a goal from Dylan Strome (18) with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

But the Penguins scored with less than 90 seconds remaining, to make it 4-3, the final. Evgenii Malkin scored the go ahead goal at 18:40. It would be the game winner.


  • Tom Wilson scored his ninth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 3-1. Wilson has recorded five points (1g, 4a) in his last four games. It marks Wilson’s 10th goal in 38 games against Pittsburgh, the most goals he has scored against a single opponent in his career.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded the primary assist on Wilson’s goal, his team-leading 41st assist of the season. Twenty-four of Kuznetsov’s assists this season have been primaries.
  • Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play to cut the deficit to 3-2. It marks Ovechkin’s 42nd goal of the season, the 822nd of his career and his 299th career power-play goal
  • Ovechkin has scored 50 percent of his goals this season (21 of 42) in the third period.

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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46 Responses to Capitals Rally Falls Short, Lose To Penguins, 4-3; Alex Ovechkin Scores 42nd Goal Of The Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well that’s a pisser

  2. KimRB says:

    Can we just tar and feather Mantha right now?

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a Hockey fan, this game is the kind of game you want on national television. It’s not going to be the same once Sid and Ovi retire.

    As a Caps fan, the Mantha experiment might be over. He seems like a lovely human being but I don’t think he can deal with the mental side of the game in high pressure situations. Dylan Strome on the other hand has been a wonderful pick up.

  4. DC Scappeli says:

    painful to watch that….$5.7m for a guy who scored 11 goals so far and is so casual with the puck. Unreal.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Well the choices that the Caps have when dealing with him as limited: trade him…..LMAO; buy out…..not the Caps way; sit the rest of the season and hope that he rebounds next year…..well at least sit him the last 8 games; keep playing him…..what are the other options? This is a case where it would have been better to let Varna walk after the season and not worry about getting anything in return, just like they did with Sammy.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        We were discussing just that. What is his trade value right Bos anyway? Stock is at a low unless he goes nuts in last 8 gsmes.

        • Diane Doyle says:

          They could take back salary and trade him for a minimal return, as Detroit ultimately did with Vrana. That’s a better option than buying him out. Since he has just one year left, someone will probably take him, paying just half his current salary.

          • hockeydruid says:

            WHO would take him Diane? Would you as a GM after watching him the past 2 years want him even at 1/2 salary? Remember in taking him you have to move someone off your roaster! I feel that we are stuck with him for next year so make him the 13th or 14th forward and let him play if someone gets injured or goes out on paternity leave. At the end of the year let him walk out the door never to be heard from again. IT is what it is and you can’t make someone play well and score when they just are not that player anymore.

            • Anonymous says:

              You just don’t get it. We don’t have to get a player back. We incentivize them with a draft pick (hopefully a third rounder would do) to take him with no return (maybe a fifth rounder if there has to be a return. Retaining salary would defeat the purpose.

              • hockeydruid says:

                This team needs all its picks and can sit Mantha in the rafters for a year as they are about 5-7 years away from being a legit playoff and Cup contender again. His contract is up after next season so what is the rush to get rid of him now? I could see it if they were that one player away from playing for the Cup. So bury his bum in the rafters for next year unless someone get injured and there is no one in Hershey to take his place. Don’t want to retain salary, don’t want to give up a pick and willing to let him rust away in the rafters and then let him walk after next season.

                • novafyre says:

                  But will the coach be willing to let that amount of money sit in the rafters? I think that it’s going to require Ted, Dick, GMBM, and the HC to all be on the same page.

                  • hockeydruid says:

                    I think its up to the GM and for the HC, hopefully not PL but I have a sinking feeling that is who we are going to get for the next 3 years, to do as he is told. IF PL is the head coach for the next 3 years than it doesnt matter where Mantha is for next season, in the rafters or on the bench.

                • Anonymous says:

                  We got a third for Eller. That’s a pick we can afford to give up to shed salary. Use that salary for a real top six forward and we will be competitive next year.

                  • hockeydruid says:

                    At this point, for me, a lot depends on who the HC will be the next several years. IF as my gut is having this terrible sinking feeling it will be PL then it doesn’t matter if you package Mantha with a 3rd, a 2nd or even a 1st as unless it is a player with a few years in the league any rookie is going to sit and wither under PL.

      • Diane Doyle says:

        Of course if we hadn’t made that trade, most people would have considered it bad asset management to let him go with nothing in return. But the trade of Vrana ended up including two draft picks (a first rounder was one of those picks) so they could get rid of the Panik contract. The Panik signing was a poor one.

    • Z. says:

      Not the first time:( Almost every game has several serious casual situation by Mantha. And in the most important situations missed goal chance. I really do not understand how is he in the roster:(

  5. hockeydruid says:

    Just wondering…..Ovie has missed what 120or so games due to strike, union matters? So as he has played 1342 games and scored 822goals that is about .65 goals a game which if he had not missed 120 games to work stoppage he would have an additional say 70 goals. So that means he would be 2 goals behind and 3 to break which could have happened this year with the next 3 years to set a record that would neve be broken of around 990 goals. Which means with a little luck he would have had 1000 goals. Simple….WOW!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see how the Caps keep Mantha. But you can’t give him away.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Make it stop!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mantha is straight trash. Period!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Who made that pass to him. They kinda left him hangin in the slot like that

      • KimRB says:

        Not true. Jensen made the pass to Mantha, who was along the boards, and then he skated along the blue line East-West, where he was stripped by Malkin. Look at the replay in the article above.

        It was 100% Mantha’s fault

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, Mantha had two options. Throw the puck right or left boards and he chose to try and do the weakest deke in hockey and got stripped by a Vet and scored on. Keumper could have had it too, but it’s that kind of year. 50+ for Ovi next year, book it! I also think the team will be more competitive after some adjustments.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sandin fighting was a shocker. It’s good to o ow he’s got a bit of that in him.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No excuse for the turnover but the d let 2 breakaway goals, so it would have been 3:2

  11. Lance says:

    Mantha flashed some skill earlier in the game—and ultimately laid an egg.

    That was one of the better hockey games I’ve seen this year as far as hits and excitement. Most games are pretty boring nowadays. This one was fun.

  12. Jon Sorensen says:


  13. dwgie26 says:

    I was just looking at some possible lineup scenarios to finish up the season because we are going to need to call someone up from Hershey with Milano out for 10 days (or longer). I would bring up Beck Malenstyn. Gersich can take 4th line LW in Hershey. Snively adds a lot down in Hershey so maybe best to leave him there. And Malenstyn is the most likely to play in Washington next year.

    Protas-Backstrom-Oshie (I like Protas playing with these guys)

    • Anonymous says:

      No wonder Kuzy is demanding to be traded when he gets stuck with those linemates

      • dwgie26 says:

        Well he had all year to play with OV and he F’d that up continuously. So let’s not cry Kuzy a river. It’s 100% his fault he is on the third line.

      • hockeydruid says:

        Wonder what they could get for Kuzy? He still has 2 years on his contract and will be 32 when it expires. Honestly I would have traded him after the 2018 season when his value was at its highest. With his M-NTC 15 teams will be knocked out so hard to say who he would go to.

        • Anonymous says:

          There’s no easy fix. No top line centers are available, except those over 28 or so. Imo the best move is to try to bring in a scoring winger and throw CMM to the wolves on the top line.

        • novafyre says:

          Love Kuzy, love his celebration, always smiling, always gives great interviews, and I feel that he loves being in the US. Despite his lack of recent production, I will be sad to see him go. I wonder how his personal misbehavior (2019 cocaine suspension among others) would affect potential suitors.

          • Anonymous says:

            No one cares about coke. It only mattered because he got caught. The NHL doesn’t test for it.

    • hockeydruid says:

      As this tam is going nowhere let Malenstyn stay in Hershey for as long as they are in the playoffs as a reward for his year. As long as Milano is out let Mantha play on the 4th line. IF Milano comes back then Mantha sits.

      • dwgie26 says:

        Malenstyn is probably the one player in Hershey that would benefit playing for the Caps for a few games. And it will help Hershey when he comes back. He’ll still get to play in all of the playoff games.

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