Sunday, February 03, 2013

Pens Stay Hot, Caps Stay Cool

Capitals 3, Penguins 6
Game Summary - Event Summary

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Two teams in different directions. The Pittsburgh Penguins competing and battling for a first place spot in the Eastern Conference. The Washington Capitals a team that is transitioning to a new system, with a new coaching staff. As far apart as both teams were, the game had a playoff feel to it. But the bounces and the luck fell with the team with the higher compete level. The Penguins double up the Capitals 6-3 for the Superbowl Sunday win.

Mike Green found his way on to the score sheet for his second goal of the season. It came just over a minute and a half after the Penguins opened the scoring early in the first period. John Carlson had possibly the strangest goal of the short year thus far. His dump in careened off the boards and glass and caught Pens' goaltender Tomas Vokoun off guard as he tried to play the puck behind the net. The puck hit the glass and trickled into the abandoned net. It would tie the game in the second period. Mike Ribeiro scored on the power play in the third period after Pittsburgh's penalty kill broke down and some nice passing.

The Penguins took advantage of young goaltender Braden Holtby playing the steel city team for the first time. The tie breaker goal by Kris Letang and the eventual game winner by Chris Kunitz were considered soft goals as they exploited Holtby's glove on both goals. It would tarnish a spectacular afternoon for number 70. The Capitals' net minder had some fantastic saves both before and after the two goal blitz by the Penguins in the second period.

The Capitals' power play showed more signs of improving. While only scoring once with the man advantage, the power play is doing a better job at moving the opposition and controlling puck possession. Given time and more opportunities, the Capitals' power play will start to capitalize on those chances.

For most the afternoon, the penalty kill did well. They allowed two goals late, the eventual game winner and then a late 5 on 3 when Alex Ovechkin took a roughing call after a late hit by a Penguin.

There are some positives the Caps can take from this lopsided loss. For periods of the first and third periods, they controlled the play. They had some great scoring chances but just failed to convert them into goals. Ovechkin seems to have found a bit of chemistry with Mike Ribeiro on his line and Wotjek Wolski. The line of Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb and Eric Fehr seemed to be a key energy line that helped through out the game. Building on those positives could help this team here on out.

Caps Notes:
  • The Washington Capitals have played 23 times on Superbowl Sunday. Their record is now 14-7-2-0.
  • Ribeiro's power play goal and his assist give him 22 career points against the Penguins. It is the fourth time this season he has a two point game. 
  • Nick Backstrom continues his point streak to four games with his assist on Carlson's goal.

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