The Capitals and Penguins met for an important Metropolitan Division clash in Pittsburgh to begin the month. Neither team’s offense would disappoint, but the Penguins would flex their muscle en route to a 7 to 4 win at PPG Paints Arena.
Here’s Friday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Capitals completed two successful comebacks in the game, showing their skill and poise in the process.
Minus: Including tonight Washington has given up the first goal in nine consecutive contests.
Eleven more notes on the game.
- The Penguins got on the board early thanks to a sneaky touch from Phil Kessel. Lurking behind and to the right of Braden Holtby Kessel received a quick pass through the slot from Riley Sheahan and stashed the puck for the one goal lead.
- A bit more than ten minutes later Carl Hagelin ripped the puck off of Christian Djoos thirty feet in front of Holtby and Hagelin made no mistake with his chance, burying a quick shot stick side.
- 140 seconds later Alex Ovechkin powered into the offensive zone and willed the puck past Matt Murray to give the Capitals life. After exposing Kris Letang with speed wide Ovechkin drove to the blue paint and put the puck up and over Murray courtesy of a fortunate bounce.
- With a man advantage to begin the second period Patric Hornqvist cashed in 26 seconds into the frame to expend Pittsburgh’s lead to two. With an assist on Hornqvist’s tally Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to eleven games.
- But less than three minutes later it was Dmitry Orlov drawing Washington within one once again. Lars Eller dished a beautiful elevator to Orlov and he buried his slap shot through Murray’s left side.
- And the Capitals completed their comeback with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s 14th of the season. Ovechkin and Tom Wilson settled a wild puck in the slot and Kuznetsov made no mistake with a quick shot.
- The contest got nasty immediately after with Wilson burying Ian Cole and T.J. Oshie and Letang trying to dance after some elbow and stick work. Their minor penalties would force the third period the begin four on four.
- Evgeni Malkin would make use of the extra space and put Pittsburgh ahead for the third time with his 27th of the year.
- But Ovechkin would match Malkin 49 seconds later. Kuznetsov feathered a pass through the slot to a wide open Ovechkin and he buried a hard snap shot to tie the contest at four.
- But Bryan Rust and the Penguins’ power play were not done as Rust connected with a Letang rebound at 6:08 of the final frame. And Kessel put Pittsburgh ahead by two a few minutes later with a wicked rip from the right wing.
- Kessel’s tally would mark the end of Holtby’s night with Philipp Grubauer coming on in relief. Malkin would add his second of the game with ten minutes to play.