Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Time for the Penguins to capitalize

By: MF,

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Nation’s Capital to battle the Washington Capitals. This is the second in back-to-back games for the Penguins. They are coming off a 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes, last night. The Penguins have won five of their last six games at the Verizon Center; they will look to make it six out of seven tonight.

The Penguins have been clicking lately as they are 3-1-1 in their last five road games. Also, they are 5-1-1 in their last seven games versus Metropolitan Division teams. Tonight’s game will be a big point getting for the Penguins as the race for the playoffs is full on.

Not to mention, the Penguins are going into the game tonight after one of the most dominating wins of the season. The first line led the way. Patric Hornqvist recorded his first career National Hockey League (NHL) hat trick and had a career-high four points. Sidney Crosby notched a season-high three assists. Lastly, Chris Kunitz was a plus-4 and notched an assist and goal.

In addition, Marc-Andre Fleury earned another shutout to complement his spectacular performance in net against the Coyotes.  However, Matt Murray will be between the pipes tonight. He is 2-1-1 in his four career NHL starts. In the American Hockey League (AHL), he ranks third in goals-against average (2.10) and save percentage (.931). In over 71 games (two seasons) in the AHL, Murray has 16 shutouts and 45 wins. He is a rising goalie and it is great to have him backing up Fleury.

This game is a big point game for the Penguins, and they need to keep control for a full 60 minutes. They cannot afford for the Capitals to have any room or chances. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz - Crosby - Hornqvist
Hagelin - Malkin - Kessel
Wilson - Bonino - Porter
Kuhnhackl - Cullen - Rust

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Daley
Pouliot - Cole

Murray in the net!  

Play by Play
Pens 2 Capitals 3

3rd Period
0:00 - The Pens fall 3-2 to the Capitals. A hard loss especially with the Pens dominating early and getting a solid lead. However, the Pens opened the door for the Capitals to come back. Then penalty trouble struck again for the Pens. Good news is that Murray looked great in net.

1:01 - Empty net for the Pens.

2:14 - Murray makes a great save at the top of the blue paint. No matter what, he has been spectacular in net for the Pens.

3:24 - The Pens have allowed the Capitals to get back in this one and then take a stupid penalty to give them the lead. They have to dig deep take back control as time is running out.

6:22 - Niskanen scores on the power play. Niskanen fires from the blue line through traffic to beat Murray. 3-2 Capitals

7:15 - Malkin heads to the box for high-sticking. Critical time as the Caps get a power play. Huge penalty kill for the Pens.

9:10 - Malkin and Kessel get another 2 on 1 chance, but Alzner blocks the pass attempt. Malkin then tries for a shot that is saved by Holtby. The puck is loose as Malkin and three Caps crash into the net.

11:02 - Very physical period as bodies are everywhere on the ice.

13:22 - This period is wide open as both teams are getting some good chances, but goalies are holding strong.

15:13 - Cullen makes a beautiful backhanded feed to Kuhnhackl who rings it off the goal post!

15:47 - Bouncing puck in the offensive zone and Malkin is able to direct to up to Kessel. Holtby denies him.

17:35 - The Capitals have come out with speed and good puck control. The Pens need to match their tempo, which is hard to do after on the second night of a back-to-back series.

20:00 - Time for the third period! The Pens have to take get back to their game and play smart! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period comes to an end with things tied at two.

1:20 - Murray is holding down the fort in net. He is giving the Pens a chance to bounce back after a late second period surge by the Capitals.

3:57 - Kuznetsov Scores. Williams controls the puck and emerges from behind the net to throw the puck in the blue paint. Kuznetsov left alone in front and puts it in. 2-2 tie game.

5:15 - Ovechkin gets some time and space as he enters the offensive zone, but Pouliot stays with him to take the puck. Great defensive play!

6:10 - No shots on that power play as it comes to an end.

8:10 - Time for another Pens power play as Orlov is called for tripping.

9:05 - Capitals get some time in the offensive zone, but the Pens are finally able to clear.

11:36 - Ovechkin tries to put in a bad angle shot, but Murray says no!

12:37 - Letang and Chimera are set free.

13:08 - The handing out of penalties isn't over. Cole and Orlov will each getting matching minors.

14:37 - Things are getting heated on the ice. Matching minors are giving out, so we will have some 4 on 4 hockey. Letang for holding and Chimera for embellishment.

15:36 - Richard Scores. Richard fires a shot from the point and it is deflected in front past Murray. 2-1 Pens

16:13 - HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby controls to get the puck in the offensive zone and passes over to Maatta entering the zone! Maatta gets the puck up to Hornqvist in front of Holtby! He finishes things off! 2-0 Pens

17:51 - The Pens fourth line controls the puck in the offensive zone for quite some time and get quality chances, but Holtby is able to make the saves to keep things at 1-0.

20:00 - The second period is underway! The Pens need to extend their lead and continue to make smart plays to keep the Capitals from getting quality chances! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period horn sounds and the Pens have the 1-0 lead!

0:59 - The Pens are back to full strength.

1:30 - Alzner is set free and the Capitals get a 31 second power play.

2:59 - So much for that Pens power play. Kessel is called for slashing. 4 on 4 hockey for 1:29.

3:30 - Alzner heads to the box for cross-checking and the Pens get their first look at the power play.

4:02 - Murray makes another solid save and looks comfortable in net.

6:05 - Great penalty kill for the Pens. Murray made some solid saves, including a big save on Ovechkin's one-timer.

8:05 - First power play of the game will go to the Capitals as Kunitz is called for tripping. Huge PK. Momentum of the game could tilt in favor the Capitals or keep the Pens in control.

9:33 - The Pens have done a good job of getting chances on Holtby, but also playing smart defensively to keep the Capitals from getting quality shots.

11:07 - Capitals finally get their shot of the game. Murray makes the save and holds for the whistle.

13:30 - MALKIN SCORES! Malkin and Kessel get a 2 on 1 chance! Malkin holds to fake out Orlov and puts it five-hole on Holtby! 1-0 Pens

14:43 - Rust with a solid chance on net, but it is turned away by Holtby.

17:40 - Back and forth hockey to start this one. Neither team has taken control yet.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Verizon Center! The Pens need to come out and put the Capitals on their heels early! Lets Go Pens! 

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