The Pittsburgh Penguins (32-21-8) traveled on the road this evening to play against the Washington Capitals (45-12-4). This makeup game from January began with Pittsburgh storming out of the gate and taking a commanding lead.
However, Washington’s offense started putting pressure on starting goaltender Matt Murray and came back to tie the game. Late in the third period, the Capitals converted on a power play that gave them the final 3-2 victory.
The Penguins matched up against Washington very well in the early going. Taking the body and forcing turnovers led to their early two goals.
The first goal was scored after a neutral zone turnover led to Evgeni Malkin sliding his way to netminder Braden Holtby’s doorstep and putting the puck in the back of the net. Malkin was able to find himself in good positions to score.
The second goal came from none other than Patric Hornqvist who was able to give the Penguins a mult-goal lead. Pittsburgh continued to play very well on both sides of the puck, however, they were not able to keep up the pressure and win the second half of the game.
Capitalizing on Mistakes
The defense looked worn out after the Penguins scored their second goal. As quickly as the team played in the first half, they began to shows signs of exhaustion.
Before the end of the second period Washington was able to tie the score with a goal from Mike Richards and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The dagger came from former Penguin Matt Niskanen when he scored a power play goal to give his team the final 3-2 lead.
Pittsburgh tried to rebound back and force a goal in the closing minutes, pulling their goalie and working in deep. However, the Capitals defense stepped up to the challenge and refused to allow the Penguins to score again.
Pittsburgh had more than enough defensive opportunities to shut down and contain the Capitals. Regardless, Washington was able to push past and generate mistakes that led to quick goals.
With the start of a difficult month, Pittsburgh needs to finish off games like these. Divisional games matter all the more now and the Penguins have already gotten off to a stumbling start.
After this loss, Pittsburgh will try to get back on track when they face the New York Rangers this Thursday at 7:00p.m.