Washington 4 – Pittsburgh 3
The Penguins led 3-1 after two periods and had a shot advantage of 20-9, but were outshot 21-6 in the final period and allowed three goals to lose 4-3.
After compiling a 3-0 lead, Washington scored four un-answered goals to come back and win. The Penguins started to look like the team we grew accustomed to seeing last year. However, in the third period all the high points and momentum disappeared.
Also, the game brought forth the idea that Philadelphia is not Pittsburgh’s only hated rival. Crosby and Malkin, Ovechkin and Semin … they don’t like each other, and it showed on Thursday night.
The Pens power play started with the same symptoms we have seen in the last couple games. Inability to enter the zone and set up an attack was the theme of the first pp.
This changed quickly though, as evident in the second and third chances with a man-advantage.
On the second chance, Alex Goligoski got the goal, banking the puck off Jose Theodore and in to the net.
Goligoski’s goal triggered two thoughts: Goligoski should gain confidence as the “quarterback,” and Jose Theodore has no idea what he is doing.
Goligoski had the presence of mind to know that no one would get behind him if he pinched down, and he also knew that he would be the first man to the puck. This is promising to say the least.
As for Theodore, I’m not quite sure what he was thinking in the period. Earlier he attempted to poke a puck away on what would have likely been an icing call. It resulted in a near goal by the Pens, leaving the entire side of the net open. It also allowed the Penguins to set up an attack in the offensive zone.
The Capitals turned what was a one-man advantage in to a two-man advantage when the Capitals flipped the puck over the glass. In turn, Miroslav Satan tapped the puck behind Theodore for the third power play goal in four chances.
Washington quickly came back and earned a power play of their own. Though they didn’t score, the Caps gained a little momentum back and scored soon thereafter to make the score 3-1.
That score lasted until the period break, but before the period ended we saw Ovechkin at his best … not sure if that’s the right way to put it.
He played his game, running at Evgeni Malkin at several opportunities. Where did this rivalry come from between the two players?
Last year is when Ovechkin took his first runs at Geno, establishing the vendetta he has against Malkin, a former teammate and roommate on the Russian national team.
His attempts to take Geno out, as well as cherry-pick the Penguins’ defense, consequently removed him from much of the action. When Ovechkin had the puck, it seemed three Penguins were there to collapse on him.
The odd point of the period: Hal Gill gets a roughing minor for defending Sidney Crosby from Alexander Semin. Semin and Crosby were pushing and shoving and Gill came over to pull Semin away. He did just that, adding a facewash, and was penalized … just weird.
All hell broke loose.
A goal here, a goal there … and all of a sudden we’re tied.
Once the Capitals tied the game they had all the momentum and the Penguins didn’t know how to react. The defensemen couldn’t carry the puck out of their own zone and on to the attack.
Then Washington scored its fourth goal, and the game was as good as over. It really seemed like the Penguins were just playing, rather praying, that they could last until overtime and get one point.
That’s not how a team can play hockey, and it showed Thursday.
You’ve got to focus on the positives: For two period this team had chemistry. The power play was clicking, they were sticking up for each other, and Fleury was barely tested because the defense and offense were combining to eliminate Washington’s attack.
However, it’s also important to focus on the negatives. This team did not, and really has yet to thus far, play a complete game of hockey.
There are always little things here and there that go wrong over the course of a hockey game. However, after each game this season the Pens have finished with glaring issues.
This loss was no different.
~Chris @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk