The Pens got off to a slow start against the Caps. There were two blown coverages, leaving Semin and Gordon all alone in front of the net with the puck. Both buried the biscuit to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. Michel Therrien called timeout and had a little discussion with the team. I'm glad I can't lip read, because I think I would have felt stung through the television by what he said.
The Pens came back out and owned the game from that point forward. They scored on their first three power plays (again), and were up 4-2 before the end of the second period.
In the third, the game slowed down, and while the Caps did score with the extra attacker on the ice, it was on a pretty blatant case of goalie interference. Easy to bury a slapper when the goalie is ridden out of the net.
Donald Brashear may be one of the dumbest hockey players I've seen. He gets plastered on a totally clean hit by Brooks Orpik, takes offense at getting hit, and takes a roughing call. The penalty is over, he comes out of the box. With the puck in his own end, instead of playing defense and getting the puck out, he goes straight for Laraque (who Therrien smartly had on the ice to greet Brashear). Whitney put the puck into the net just as Donald was dropping the gloves. Pens lead 4-2. Game over. Great job, Donald. Georges ended the fight quickly with a decisive showing.
Otherwise, great game after the slow start. That's something the Pens need to correct. They can't count on being able to come back against playoff teams. In fact, I think we can count on a good team to be able to use a 2-0 lead far better than the Caps did.
With the win, the Pens are in the playoffs. I know this is just a formality, but it's nice to think that the Pens will have meaningful games to play in April for the first time in a long time.
Next up: at Boston on Thursday.