The Washington Capitals started their three-game road trip with a visit to Consol Energy Center to face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Caps could have clinched the top-seed in the Metropolitan division and the Eastern Conference with any type of win over the Penguins.
First Period: Good Start, Bad Finish.
This game was incredibly fast from opening puck drop. No slow start for the Capitals as they were constantly shooting the puck at Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury.That blistering start for the Caps would only last for the first few minutes as the Bryan Rust would open the scoring for the Penguins. Trevor Daley added another shortly after and the Caps were down by two at the end of the first period.
GOALS: Bryan Rust scored his fourth of the season (assists: Tom Kuhnhackl and Ian Cole); Trevor Daley scored his sixth of the season (assists: Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist)
PENALTIES: Daniel Winnik (interference); T.J. Oshie (tripping)
SCORE: Caps trail 2-0.
Second Period: A Mess
1:18 into the second, Jason Chimera scored using his head (literally!) to put the Capitals on the board. The Caps only had six shots on goal during this period, the fact that they spent most of the period shorthanded probably had something to do with that. This period proved that the bad blood and rivalry between the Capitals and Penguins is alive and well. Andre Burakovsky had a beautiful breakaway and fired one past Fleury to the tie the game for the Capitals. Unfortunately, the Penguins would score the eventual game winner less than a minute later.
GOALS: Jason Chimera scored his 18th of the season (assists: Justin Williams and Dmitry Orlov); Andre Burakovsky scored his 16th of the season (assist: Jay Beagle); Tom Kuhnhackl scored his third of the season (assists: Matt Cullen and Trevor Daley)
PENALTIES: Ian Cole (holding the stick); Mike Weber (roughing double minor); Bryan Rust (roughing); T. J. Oshie (roughing); Karl Alzner (roughing); Patric Hornqvist (slashing); Patric Hornqvist (roughing); Justin Williams (hi-sticking)
SCORE: Caps trail 3-2
Third Period: Well That’s Not Good…
The Capitals had a 30+ goal differential in the third period (meaning they outscore their opponent by a lot in the last 20 minutes of play). Unfortunately, those 3rd period Caps were not on the ice in Pittsburgh. Braden Holtby had a night to forget and Philipp Grubauer came in relief after the Pens’ fifth goal. The Penguins would score once more on the three-minute power play (thanks to a bad hit by Mike Weber).
GOALS: Matt Cullen scored his 12th of the season (assist: None); Chris Kunitz scored his 16th of the season (assists: Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang); Justin Schultz scored his fourth of the season (assist: None)
PENALTIES: Mike Weber (boarding); Mike Weber (game misconduct); Tom Kuhnhackl (roughing); Tom Kuhnhackl (game misconduct); Carl Hagelin (interference); Daniel Winnik (elbowing); Daniel Winnik (game misconduct)
SCORE: Caps lose 6-2
So the Capitals did not clinch the top spot in the Metro or the East. They still have a 19-point lead over the now-second place Penguins in the division.
PRACTICE: The Caps have Monday off and are scheduled to have a morning skate at 11:30am on Tuesday at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
GAME: 7:30pm game against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre.