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The Penguins came into Washington and got up early but the home team came roaring back over the game's second half to beat their Metropolitan rival with three straight goals. The Capitals picked up their 46th win of the season and two points for themselves behind Braden Holtby's 28 save performance.
First up, here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Evgeny Kuznetsov is a twenty goal scorer. Before he came over to play for Washington he was somewhat of an unknown, but considering we already enjoy Nicklas Backstrom's work I'm really happy Kuznetsov is blossoming into a center with a penchant for finishing.
- Minus: Early goals against. Washington allowed early goals to their guests in both the first and second periods giving Pittsburgh momentum and confidence that would have to be overcome.
Ten more notes on the game.
- Evgeni Malkin got the Penguins on the board first, six minutes into the game, by finishing a two against one rush alongside Phil Kessel. With Dmitry Orlov doing his best to prevent a pass to Phil Malkin waltzed atop the crease and tucked home the game's first.
- It took Washington 8:53 to register a shot on goal against Matt Murray and the low-chance shot from Marcus Johansson 's stick drew a mock cheer from the Verizon Center crowd.
- Pittsburgh continued to outplay their hosts in the second period, especially early, as Patric Hornqvist extended the Penguins' lead to two less than four minutes into the frame.
- But Mike Richards responded with a home team tally quickly, only 39 seconds after Hornqvist's. A partially whiffed shot from Nate Schmidt gave Richards the opportunity to fire a wrist shot past Murray, using Tom Wilson as a sizable screen.
- And before it was over Kuznetsov knotted the score at two by establishing himself in the slot and whacking home a Justin Williams feed from Murray's left. With twenty four minutes to play it was a fresh hockey game.
- Unfortunately (but probably deservedly) the Capitals were whistled twice for embellishment in the second period by referees Kelly Sutherland and Evgeny Romasko. Both Chimera and Orlov were forced to serve their minors despite the crowd's best effort to convince the stripes otherwise.
- Pittsburgh had the best chances early in the third with Kessel thinking he squeezed one past Holtby, Tom Kuhnhackl ringing iron, and Malkin being getting bested on another odd man rush before the period's midway mark.
- With Malkin the box for high sticking Matt Niskanen blasted home the game winner from the point that Murray couldn't find through traffic. The game winner was solely assisted by Backstrom from after Washington was able to establish their presence in Pittsburgh's zone.
- New defenseman and new father Mike Weber made his Capitals debut and skated 12 minutes. Welcome to the club.
- In the end, Washington was able to hold Sidney Crosby without a shot on goal and largely ineffective. Who's ready for playoff hockey?