Home > Eastern Conference, NHL > Pens fail in the shootout

Pens fail in the shootout

So the Stanley Cup champions couldn’t pick up a win against the best team in the league. Surprise? The Washington Capitals have outdone the Pittsburgh Penguins in three out of their four meetings this season. The two teams meet one more time in early April.

Two out of the three games have gone further than regulation, so the real question is does this really mean Washington is better and how will things be different come playoffs? Some things haven’t changed, as the focus was still on the league’s two superstars, Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. The difference is, Penguins fans don’t boo Ovechkin every time he touches the puck at Mellon Arena, like Caps fans do to Crosby.

After a scoreless first period, the Caps grabbed the lead when Mike Knuble beat Marc-Andre Fleury from inside his goal crease. The Pens were quick to respond with a shot from Brooks Orpik that was deflected past Jose Theodore by Max Talbot. Bill Guerin scored again for Pittsburgh on the Power Play giving them their first and only lead of the contest.

The Pens went on the Power Play again when Tomas Fleischmann was sent to the box for holding, but they failed to come up with another power play goal. Instead Alexander Semin single handedly put the puck past Fleury when his team was down a man. The Caps put themselves up again with a similar play to Talbot’s goal. Eric Fehr deflected the puck past Fleury on a shot from Mike Green. Not to be outdone, Jordan Staal ties it up with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Three periods weren’t enough to decide this one, so we went to overtime which wasn’t enough time to come up with a winner either. With the shootout underway, the Pens looked like they may have had this one in the bag. Kris Letang and Crosby both managed to get their pucks in the net, while Fleury robbed Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin then got his team back in the running and Guerin failed to bring it home for the Pens. After Chris Kunitz‘s attempt was shot down by Theodore, it was again up to Knuble who was 0-4 in his career going into the shootout. He made it passed Fleury, and the Capitals won this one 4-3.

Does this mean there is no chance for the Penguins if and when they have to face the Capitals in the Playoffs? Not likely. The Playoffs are a completely different atmosphere. The Pens may be having a a little bit of a slump, this was their 5th straight loss, but we have seen them battle their way back from far worse. Last season around this time, they were fighting for playoff spot and they ended up going back to the finals and winning the Cup. They are making mistakes and it is costing them, but they are definitely a team to be reckoned with when they pull themselves together.

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