With the series tied 1-1, the teams traveled to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4. Caps were without defenseman Brooks Orpik who was suspended three games for his late hit on Olli Maata during Game 2. Caps planned on a comeback win but it was not to be, in large part because of the Pens new Super Goalie.
The game got dirty early and pretty much stayed that way. With the Pens hottest defense player, Kris Letang, suspended for one game, the Caps have a chance to even the score. Lets take a look back at what happened. And check here for what we think should happen tonight.
First Period: Dirty hockey
The Capitals did not need any time to find their legs in this game. Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie each had great chances on goaltender Matt Murray early in the first. The Capitals were getting the better chances and testing Murray but it was the Penguins who would score first, Patric Hornqvist’s fourth of the playoffs.A minute later, Tom Kuhnhackl doubled the Penguins’ lead on a weird bounce.
Kris Letang laid a dangerous late hit to the head of Marcus Johansson, who went to the Capitals’ locker room and did not return for the rest of the period. Social media lit up on that one, calling for retaliatory suspension after the Orpik suspension. Lots of tweets were sent to Player Safety on this one!
The Capitals finally got their first full power play of the game… and Justin Williams rang the post. After one period, the Boyz from Washington trailed Pittsburgh 2-o.
Second Period: More of the same
Johansson returned to the Capitals bench for the second, which was good to see. Marcus legally hit Letang later in the period and he ended the game with nine hits himself. Mojo was out of practice on Tuesday and a game-time decision for Wednesday night.
The Capitals dominated the period, but just could not get the puck past Murray.
Justin Williams was hurting on the bench after getting a stick to the ribs by Chris Kunitz. Puck luck was on the Penguins’ side as the puck went off Nate Schmidt’s skate and into the goal. The Capitals trailed the Penguins 3-0 after two periods even though they outshot them 28-14.
Third Period: Almost
The Capitals needed a huge third period to pull even with the Penguins and they almost did it. Head coach Barry Trotz shuffled the lines, the first line was Ovechkin with Kuznetsov and Johansson.
The period had more frustrating hockey but Ovi got the Capitals on the board with about 12 minutes left–plenty enough time to score right???
A few minutes later, Ovechkin almost got his second of the night but still could not get the puck past Murray. With 58 seconds left, Justin Williams knocked into an Ovechkin shot to bring the Capitals within one, but that was as good as it got.
Ultimately 49 shots, 85 shot attempts and two goals were not enough for the road team as they fell 3-2. The Capitals are now down 2-1 in the series but this was not a completely bad game for the road guys.
Game 4 is on Wednesday at 8pm at Consol Energy Center. Game 5 will be back home.