Penguins Squander 3-Goal Lead, Lose to Caps 4-3

The Pittsburgh Penguins withered under an all out 3rd period attack by the Capitals, getting outshot 21-6 in the final frame and giving up 3-goals to give Washington a 4-3 victory.  From the outset, it looked like it would be all Penguins as they notched 3-unanswered powerplay goals.  But the Capitals fought back with 4-unanswered even strength goals to steal the victory from the Penguins.  The loss gave Evgeni Malkin little to cheer about, despite a 3-point performance (1G, 2A).  Sidney Crosby (2A) and Miroslav Satan (1G, 1A) each notched 2-points in the loss, and Marc-Andre Fleury gave up 4-goals on 30-shots. 

In the 1st period, the Penguins flat outplayed the Capitals who quickly got themselves into penalty trouble.  The Capitals committed 4-penalties in the 1st, including a too many men offense with 4-seconds left in the period.  The Penguins managed to capitalize on 2 of their man-advantage chances in the period.  The first goal came at 12:58 as Alex Goligoski collected an Evgeni Malkin blast off the dashers, bobbled it a bit and threw it on net from an impossible angle.  The puck caromed off the post, up Jose Theodore’s leg and into the net.  Along with Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby picked up an assist.  The second powerplay goal came at 19:17 as Evgeni Malkin took a feed all alone in the slot from Sidney Crosby and blasted the puck into Theodore, who let the puck trickle into the net behind him to make it 2-1.  Miroslav Satan picked up the other assist on the play.  The Penguins were 2-for-4 on the powerplay, 1-for-1 on the kill, and outshot the Capitals 9-4 in the first. 

In the 2nd, the Penguins converted in the final seconds of the carryover penalty from the 1st period as Miroslav Satan poked in a rebound off from a hard shot by Evgeni Malkin.  Petr Sykora picked up the additional assist on the play.  But the Capitals would fight back as Eric Fehr created a turnover on Miroslav Satan along the boards in the Penguins end.  Fehr got the puck to Brooks Laich, who then passed it to Tomas Fleischmann who deftly redirected a backhander past Fleury to make it 3-1.  On the puck drop immediately following the goal, rookie Paul Bissonnette and Matt Bradley dropped the gloves for a go.  Bissonnette got in a good lick or two before falling to the ice.  Getting back up quickly he landed a heavy right on Bradley’s nose that buckled his legs and dropped him to the ice with a bloody nose.  Bradley ended up leaving the game and didn’t return until midway through the 3rd period.  The Penguins dominated the period by going 1-for-3 on the man advantage, 3-for-3 on the kill, and outshooting the Capitals 11-5.

Onto the 3rd period, you had to wonder what was said in the Capitals’ locker room between periods, and perhaps what wasn’t said in the Penguins’.  The Capitals came out scored early at 3:38 as Sidney Crosby lost a faceoff to Michael Nylander in the circle to Fleury’s left, with the puck going to Alexander Semin who laced it into the net.  With it now a 1-goal game, the Capitals came alive and started blazing at the net.  The Penguins on the other hand, ended up back on their heels and were never able to recover.  At 10:00, a 3-on-2 for the Caps quickly turned into a 2-on-1 with Tomas Fleischmann making a cross-crease pass to Michael Nylander who beat Fleury on his left side.  Alexander Semin picked up the other assist.  Then at 15:43, Boyd Gordon beat Sidney Crosby in the faceoff circle, and then threw the puck into the top of the net past Fleury.  The puck went in and out of the net so fast that play continued and the goal wasn’t immediately credited.  A full 2-minutes of hockey was played befor ethe next stoppage of play, at which time the video review clearly showed that a goal had been scored to give the Capitals the 4-3 lead.  The clock had to be reset to re-play the 2-minutes that had been played since the goal was scored, but it wasn’t enough time to allow the Penguins to claw their way back into the game.  The Penguins ended up getting outshot 21-6 in the period, with no penalties being called on either team.  Coach Therrien could not be happy with the fact that his team stopped working in the 3rd period and couldn’t score 5-on-5.

The Penguins will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Mellon Arena.

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