Here's the recap!
Both teams were charged up at the beginning of the game. The Caps had the better of the scoring chances during the period, but Fleury was up to the challenge.
The Caps also shot a bunch of pucks wide of the net, and had a few more go bad on broken sticks. It felt like they were just a tiny bit off of putting a few pucks behind Marc-Andre.
The Pens had a great chance when Crosby setup Dupuis. Pascal had the puck, but I couldn't help but imagine that was Marian Hossa out there taking that pass. I think the result might have been different too. Dupuis' shot was saved by Huet.
This was an NBC game, so you know there had to be some funny business with the announcing. Olczyk called Jarkko by his brother's name during the first (Tuomo). Doc Emerick tried to perpetuate the "Ruutu doesn't back up the talk" myth, only to be shot down immediately and forcefully by both Olczyk and McGuire.
The Pens survived without allowing a goal in the first.
In the second, things opened up a bit more, at least for the Capitals. They out shot the Pens 22-9!!! I have to say that this was a surprise to me after watching the second, because it wasn't that one-sided. It would be interesting to know what kind of margin consistency there is with the Caps shooting stats at home... maybe that's a project for the off season.
The Caps struck first when Brooks Laich deflected a Semin shot behind Fleury. He then directly caused the next goal, when he changed the pace of the pass from Malkin to Sykora. Peter didn't get much on it and it knuckled past Huet. For the hat trick of insults, Laich had to put up with being called by the wrong name by Pierre McGuire for quite a bit after his goal.
The Pens took the lead on a rebound goal by Sid just after the power play ended for the Pens. It sure did look like the refs were trying to even things up with the calls they were making.
Of course, that didn't last, as the refs made another two calls in quick succession on the Pens, putting the Caps on the 5-on-3 for the second time in the period.
The Caps didn't waste this two man advantage, with Semin (you don't know how hard it it to avoid jokes about his name) scoring on the short side. Fleury was about two inches off of the post, probably expecting the pass across the crease, and Alex put the puck right through that opening.
The scariest words out of McGuire's mouth the entire game was him recounting Devorski talking to Therrien: "Don't worry - Van Massenhoven has it under control". I wouldn't count on the refs to have a car on the PA Turnpike ride at Kennywood under control.
Score was 2-2 after two. If you told me before the game it would be tied going to the third, I'd take it. In this case, however, the lack of discipline by the Pens leading to two power play goal by the Caps made me uneasy. At least the whistles tend to get put away in the last 10 minutes of the game.
As much as the Caps didn't really dominate the second, despite their advantage in shots, the Pens DID dominate the third period. They had scoring chance after scoring chance, but just couldn't beat Huet.
The Pens started the third by killing off the remainder of the penalty carryover. That was a huge kill, mainly so we didn't have to hear that annoying goal horn anymore.
Quintin Laing took a questionable angle on Malkin and kneed him. The Pens can't get one past Huet on the power play.
They keep the momentum going, however with several good chances.
Then the Pens get called for too many men on the ice. This was shortly after the Caps weren't called in a similar situation. See my comment above about the refs having things under control...
The Pens came up with a huge kill, and things went back and forth for a bit, until...
With under a minute to play, the Pens jammed the puck at the net. It squirted (no, Semin wasn't involved) across the crease, where Backstrom was back checking. He took the puck and tried to sweep it behind the net. Instead, he put it right over the goal line. That was the game winner.
Do you feel bad for Backstrom? Maybe for about a second, and then I think about Ovechkin celebrating his goals like he just won the lottery after living in a trailer park all his life. No - I don't feel bad at all.
- Strong game by Fleury. He did struggle a bit with rebound control, and I think a better team with more scoring might take advantage of that, but I'll take stopping 36 of 38 shots any day of the week.
- What's up with Ovechkin's man crush on Malkin?
- Staal: 1 G, +4
- Malkin: 3 A, +3 (and a great unselfish pass to Staal for the EN)
- Crosby: 2 G, +2
- Federov: 1 A, -4
- Ovechkin: 2 A, -2 (ouch)
- How nice is it for the Pens to spare the Caps the agony in the playoffs? They're not going to make it the way they're going.
Next up: It's a light schedule this week for the Pens, with only one game, at home against the Sabres on Wednesday.