The Pens did everything right except put the puck in the net. They kept the Caps bottled up for large parts of the game. They were able to establish an effective forecheck. They played physical and clean. They just couldn't score.
The Pens were playing even more short-handed, if that were possible, due to the trade of Alex Goligoski and the injury to Paul Martin (he was hit from behind by Patrick Sharp against Chicago yesterday afternoon). That meant that both Engelland and Lovejoy dressed, and Brian Strait made his NHL debut.
- The Pens were ready to go from the drop of the puck. They had the drive and intensity all night long, es evidenced by the shot margin.
- Fleury was great all night long.
- Neuvirth was, unfortunately, better.
- Orpik played a great physical game against Ovechkin.
- Someone needs to bury a puck against the Caps. There were numerous chances, including breakaways for Staal and Talbot. The effort is there - the results need to be there too. Fortunately this should get better soon when Neal arrives and injured guys return.
- I thought Strait looked a little slow out there. He probably needs a few games to get up to NHL speed, but he's not likely to get any more time this season with the Pens barring injury.
- Listening to the Versus announcers was ugly. I don't have enough fingers (or toes) to count the number of times they fawned over the Caps defensive improvements. It's not hard to look good when you're facing a depleted team like the Pens.
- Seeing Backstrom try to punch Letang for a clean hit was a surprise - I didn't think Backstrom was that kind of player.
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 36-20-5.
The road gets tougher when San Jose comes to Consol on Wednesday.