Capitals @ Penguins Recap: Penguins beat Capitals in 5-Four OT Win

The Capitals wanted to bounce back from their loss to the Penguins on Sunday and Coach Laviolette debuted some new lines on Tuesday morning. Daniel Sprong stayed in the line-up but swapped places with TJ Oshie and moved from the third to the second line. Defensive pairings remained the same, however. Vitek Vanecek started against Casey DeSmith, the winning goalkeeper in Sunday’s game. Fun fact: after tonight, Vanecek and DeSmith have now played against each other in the ECHL, AHL and NHL, and Vanecek actually played DeSmith on the latter’s ECHL / Pro hockey debut in 2015. Which young goalkeeper would win tonight? Let’s find out.

Here’s the plus / minus on Tuesday night:

Plus: The new lines clicked very well tonight, especially the third line from Panik-Eller-Oshie.

Minus: The capital cities let their game get sloppy after the first period and it came back to bite them. Their specialty teams were chaotic, they played lazy games, and they took stupid punishments. While Vitek Vanecek was a shining star on his NHL debut last week, he looked a bit insecure tonight.

And now it’s baaaaaack …

Ten other notes about the game:

1. Lars Eller scored the first goal of the caps on the board with a clever game from the new third row. TJ Oshie, who can be really successful in a third row, drove the puck across the ice with Eller and Richard panicking on a strange rush. Oshie seemed to pass the puck on to Panic, but it slipped past him in a beautiful feed for Eller, who wasted no time making DeSmith look silly for his first goal of the season. With this goal, Eller is now four points behind 300 career points.

2. Colton Sceviour had a little more than three minutes to tie the penguins in the first minute. Vitek Vanecek was unable to control a rebound and when he fell backwards the puck came off and Sceviour tapped him over the goal line. After such an excellent time from the guys in white, this was a demoralizing goal.

3. Six seconds later, Tom Wilson restored the leadership of the caps with a run on the ice immediately after the pass. Alex Ovechkin tossed the puck on the ice and chased it so he could pass it to Wilson, who ricocheted it off DeSmith’s shoulder for his second goal of the season.

4. 2:45 afterwards, Wilson decided he hadn’t scored any goals. John “I pretend I’m a striker” Carlson made Wilson, who had gone straight into the net, an absolute gem while Carlson pulled the penguin skaters to his side of the ice. This is the seventh multi-goal game in Wilson’s career and his first since November 7, 2019. Boy, Wilson has something in PPG Paints Arena that just … hits differently.

5. Dmitry Orlov was called for stumbling against Kasperi Kapanen and took the first trip of the game to the penalty area four minutes into the second half. 40 seconds later, Eller joined Orlov when he was called for a blow. 80 seconds 5v3 for Pittsburgh really isn’t ideal for the Caps, no matter how good the PK the Caps are, and the Penguins made them pay. Jake Guentzel returned the pegs within one after finishing a tic-tac-toe passing game in front of the net. Thankfully, the Caps’ PK was able to end the final 48 seconds of power play time and keep Pittsburgh from tying things up.

6. Bird Man Target Alert! Yes, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal! She booked the new second line of caps into the offensive zone a little more than eight minutes after the start of the second and Jakub Vrana fired the puck over the left circle at the net. Daniel Sprong got a piece of the shot and diverted it, and the ricochet bounced off DeSmith’s left pad and right off Kuzy, who had hit the net hard. Sprongs Assist marks its first point as a cap. Plus, each of the Caps’ top three lines scored a goal tonight – we love this offensive distribution!

7. Jake Guentzel gave the Caps their first power play of the night when he went to box and stayed 6:32 in the second. Then, after a minute of power play, Chad Ruhwedel was called for a blow and the caps were given their own 5-on-3 chance. After taking a break to rest the top power play unit, there was a goal! Unfortunately, it was at the end of the capitals ice. Casey DeSmith received initial support for a runaway goal from Teddy Blueger after a lazy dump-in from the Caps. Yes, you read that right, capitals threw the puck in when they had the two-man advantage.

8. TJ Oshie was called to roughing at 3:21 to go into the second. Oshie initially received a major penalty for his goal against Marcus Pettersson but was downgraded to two minutes after review. However, it only took Evgeni Malkin 36 seconds to finish the game for the penguins with a one-timer from the right circle. After the Caps had definitely played the best hockey phase of the young season in the first period, it was a tough end to a very sloppy 20 minutes.

9. After an action-packed second period, the third period was downright calm in comparison. During the 17-minute game, the caps and penguins were limited to seven and eight shots on goal, respectively. Losing two defenders in the closing stages, Pittsburgh played a more defensive game to hold on to the score and Washington let them in.

10. Neither team could break the tie in the third half so it was time for OT at the PPG Paints Arena. Just over a minute after extra time, anyone other than Sidney Crosby ended the game after catching a Vanecek rebound. Penguins win 5-4 and the capitals wash away the extra point.

After tonight, the capitals scored points in four games on the road to start the season. Next up for the caps: Friday’s home opening game against the Buffalo Sabers.

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