Monday, January 23, 2012

Penguins 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

So what happened?

This was a great win for the Pens.  It had a bit of everything - a quick start, allowing three straight goals against, a key goal in the third to tie it up and then the OT winner.

It was like a roller coaster that had a great finish to it.  Without that finish, it would have felt vastly different at the end.

As for the Caps, their system is painful to watch.  When the Pens were bringing the puck up the ice and there isn't a Capital in sight until the red line (or thereabouts), you're playing a pretty conservative trap.  They aren't going to be able to keep scoring three or four goals per night while only generating 20 shots.  To their credit, they were able to hold the Pens to just 27, which is their lowest total in almost a month.

Who scored?

Letang (5), Neal (25, 26), Malkin (26)

The Good?
  • The power play got things started on the right foot, and they looked dangerous all day.
  • The PK was huge (and it was helped by a dumb penalty taken by Troy Brouwer - see The Bad below).
  • Another 13 shots and three goals for the top line.  Even with the defensive system played by the Caps, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz were able to dominate.  I'd be interested to see how things guys do against a team like Detroit or Boston.
  • Perfect faceoff win by Malkin on the first goal by James Neal.  He won it straight back to where Neal was and allowed him to one-time the puck.
The Bad?
  • The rest of Geno's faceoffs weren't as good.  He won just six of eighteen overall.
  • Troy Brouwer took a dumb penalty when the Caps had an extended five-on-three.  He cross-checked Paul Martin in the back, right in front of the net.  There's no need to do that, and it cost the Caps a good chance (though they did score at even strength while all the penalties were playing out).
The Ugly?
  • Ovechkin's hit on Michalek, clearly leaving his feet.  When someone asks why the players don't have more respect for each other, Ovechkin should be the poster boy.  He routinely makes dangerous, borderline hits.  If Matt Cooke can change, anyone can.
Any Surprises?
  • I was surprised to see Neuvirth, considering how well Vokoun played last time against the Pens.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 27-17-4.

Who's next?
One more game before the All-Star break, and it's a tough one.  The Pens visit St. Louis on Tuesday.

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