Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Looking for redemption in Washington

The Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in the Nation’s Capital to battle the Washington Capitals. The rivalry is known and this will be an intense game.

Going into this game, the Penguins have won five straight games and have dominated on the scoreboard. Sidney Crosby has points in 13 of his 15 games (11G-18A-29PTS). He has been on fire this season and been critical to the Penguins winning formula. Though Crosby isn’t alone when it comes to scoring for the Penguins, which has been huge. The Penguins are one of six teams (New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks, and Capitals) to have five players with 10 or more goals, which include Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Conor Sheary, and Bryan Rust.

That is not it for the Penguins as many players are riding point streaks going into tonight’s game. Phil Kessel has a five-game point streak (2G-4A-6PTS), Conor Sheary has a four-game point streak (2G-3A-5PTS), and Justin Schultz has a five-game point streak (1G-4A-5PTS). Schultz has been a surprise lately, but really this system is showing his true talent, which was otherwise suppressed in the past.

The defense has been doing well as they have slowly gotten healthy. Brian Dumoulin is still out of the lineup, but the Penguins are picking up the slack. Marc-Andre Fleury has been on his game and is 7-0-1 in his past eight games. Fleury will start and Matt Murray will be back on the bench to back him up. Good to see the young netminder back in the lineup.

The Capitals have a six-game winning streak and this game is a key moment for them. It will cast doubt for the Capitals if they come out with a losing effort, while Pittsburgh doesn’t let it affect their mindset. The Penguins will have to come out with speed, play smart, limit turnovers and space while shutting down Alexander Ovechkin. Once Ovechkin is shut down, he will be not become a fact in the contest. They need to stay focused and stay out of the box. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Sheary - Crosby - Rust
Hagelin - Malkin - Hornqvist
Kunitz - Bonino - Kessel
Wilson - Cullen - Fehr

Daley - Letang
Cole - Schultz 
Maatta - Oleksy

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
Pens 2 Capitals 5

3rd Period
0:00 - The Pens fall 5-2 to the Caps. Not a good effort by the Pens and they need to clean up their game. Onto Ottawa.

0:17 - Eller scores an empty netter. Eller fires a shot at the net, it deflects off Hornqvist's stick, goes off the helmet of Letang, and into the net. 5-2 Caps

2:03 - Pens have an empty net.

2:36 - HORNQVIST SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Kessel goes across center to Crosby, he finds Hornqvist at the other side of the net! Hornqvist puts it in the wide open net! 4-2 Caps

3:36 - Oshie takes a seat in the sin bin for slashing. Pens get a power play.

4:01 - The Pens haven't been finishing their chances. There are too many penalties, turnovers, and bad player coverage by the Pens in this one. One can't keep leaving your netminder out to dry on plays.

6:49 - Backstrom scores on the power play. Oshie makes a pass to Backstrom driving down the center. He drifts wide and backhands one into the net. He was left wide open. 4-1 Caps

7:31 - The Caps head onto the power play as Oleksy visits the sin bin once again for tripping.

8:47 - Out of the box comes Oshie and the Pens power play is killed off by the Caps.

10:47 - Oshie is off to the box for holding. Another power play chance for the Pens.

12:14 - MALKIN SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Schultz slides a perfect pass right into the wheel house of Malkin! Malkin rips a shot from one-knee that deflects off Niskanen's stick and over Holtby! 3-1 Caps

13:32 - Hagelin and Kuznetsov exchange some words and then a scramble ensues. Orlov gets the lone roughing penalty. Power play chance for the Pens.

13:51 - Letang with a quick and sneaky shot from the point. Holtby gloves it up for the whistle.

14:45 - Letang is back on the ice.

15:06 - Letang takes a shot up high and is in some discomfort as he heads to the bench.

15:29 - Williams scores. Kuznetsov goes behind the net and turns around to outlet a pass to Williams at the side. Williams puts it five-hole. 3-0 Caps

16:33 - Carlson lets go of a rocket shot from the point, but Fleury flashes the glove to make the save.

19:54 - Oleksy is set free.

20:00 - Time for the third period! The Pens have to a kill off a Capital power play to start (six seconds)! The third period is known to be the best for the Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - The horn sounds to conclude the second period and the Caps have extended their lead to 2-0 over the Pens.

1:54 - Oleksy sits for tripping. Huge late penalty kill for the Pens.

3:53 - Ovechkin makes a cross-ice pass over to Backstrom. His shot goes up over the net.

4:48 - That will be the end of the Pens' power play.

5:09 - Bonino, Hornqvist, and Kessel crash the net as they try to put in the loose puck. Holtby is finally able to cover for the whistle.

6:48 - Connolly high sticks Fehr and will head to the box. Power play time for the Pens.

7:02 - Holtby gloves up Maatta's shot from the blue line.

8:00 - Pens playing aggressive in front of Fleury to keep the area clear for him.

9:34 - Kunitz with a pass up ice for a flying Kessel in alone. He is denied by Holtby. The Pens need to start finish their chances.

11:39 - Fleury had no chance on the shot. Pens left Ovechkin wide open, which was ridiculous.

11:42 - Ovechkin scores on the power play. The classic one-timer by Ovechkin at the top of the faceoff circle blows past Fleury. 2-0 Caps

12:25 - Caps are headed back onto the power play as Hagelin is ticketed for hooking. Not a good call by the referee.

14:19 - Successful penalty kill for the Pens. Solid penalty killing by the guys and Fleury was exceptional.

14:57 - Fleury with a huge save as Oshie releases a quite shot in the slot area.

16:19 - Too many men penalty is handed out to the Pens. Caps bring out their power play unit.

16:59 - Kunitz makes a pass up to Cullen who is driving down center. Holtby gets a piece of Cullen's backhander to put the shot wide.

18:43 - Kuznetsov gets around Maatta, but Fleury comes out with the poke check to disrupt the play.

18:55 - Cole and Williams are set free and we are back to regular hockey play.

20:00 - We are back for the second period! There is still 1:05 left to go with the four-on-four play! The Pens need to take advantage! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - The first period comes to an end with the Caps holding the 1-0 lead.

0:55 - Some more four-on-four hockey. Cole and Williams will each get slashing minors.

1:24 - Cole is missing his helmet as the Caps are controlling the puck in the offensive zone.

3:18 - Alzner with a shot that is shouldered away by Fleury.

3:35 - Malkin flies down the wing, but the puck starts bouncing as he shoots it. Holtby with the save.

5:36 - There is a Pens pile up at the side of the net as the puck is loose. The referee finally blows the whistle. Took him quite awhile to "lose sight of the puck" on that one.

8:53 - Crosby has generated a few chances in the last couple of sifts. Though Caps are controlling the neutral zone for the most part.

10:42 - Both teams are back to full strength.

11:24 - Carlsson with a hard shot that is stopped by Fleury. Solid save.

12:05 - Crosby backhands a pass over to Letang who is driving center. The puck goes off Letang and goes wide.

12:42 - Orpik will head to the box for slashing, while Cullen goes for tripping. We will see some four-on-four hockey.

14:36 - That will be the end of the Pens power play as Oshie is set free.

14:57 - Sheary rings a rebound shot off the goal post!

16:36 - The first power play of the game will go to the Pens as Oshie is called for slashing.

17:32 - Fehr with a backhander in the slot, but Holtby is ready to make the glove save.

19:25 - Ovechkin scores. Ovechkin and Backstrom get a two-on-one against Letang. Ovechkin holds and drifts to center before releasing a shot, which flies past Fleury. That is Ovechkin's 1000th NHL point. 1-0 Caps

20:00 - Puck drop and this game is underway! The Pens need to come out with speed, play smart, and limit the Capitals space! Lets Go Pens!  

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