Friday, December 24, 2010

Game #37 Recap: Caps 2 Pittsburgh 3 (OT-SO)

The big build up to the Caps and Pens was fully delivered by the game performance of both teams last night. A 7-round shootout was required to decide the outcome with the Penguins taking the win 3-2. The Capitals played a solid all around game and a much improved effort. The game started with Alex Ovechkin leveling Evgeni Malkin and then Zbynek Michalek who tried to stand up for Malkin. Ovechkin to his credit did not engage any of the Penguins, basically saying "it was clean, deal with it." The Pens opened the scoring when Sidney Crosby deflected a pass from the point behind Michael Neuvirth. The Caps pressed the attack and kept the puck mainly in the offensive zone but couldn't get the puck in the net. This included a 5-on-3 power play advantage. In the second period, the Capitals finally broke through with a goal. On another 5-on-3, Alexander Semin and Mike Green passed the puck back and forth til Green finally ripped a wrist shot to tie the game at 1-1. Neuvirth made several outstanding stops in the period including a penalty shot from Malkin and a breakaway from Crosby. 14 seconds into the third the Penguins went up 2-1 on a broken play in front of the Washington net. The Caps then proceeded to march their way to the penalty box with three consecutive penalties against. On the final Pittsburgh power play, Brooks Laich took a puck fumbled away by the Pens defenseman and made a nice pass to Mike Knuble who beat the goalie 5-hole to tie the game at 2-2. With no goals in the overtime they went to the shootout where Washington decided to go first. Alex Ovechkin scored with a backhand deek but the Pens responded with a goal on their first attempt. Then no one would score again until the 7th round when a perfectly placed shot beat Neuvirth. The Caps picked up 1 standings point but were pushed to second place in the division as Tampa won a shootout against the Rangers.

Of Note:
  • Mike Green got his 6th goal of the season and played a game high 34 minutes 3 seconds. He was targeted by the Pens and responded with the goal, 6 shots, 8 hits and 5 blocks.
  • The penalty killers did well killing all 5 power plays they faced and Mike Knuble got the game tying goal shorthanded.
  • Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Brooks Laich collected 1 assist each.
  • The Pens blocked 23 Capitals shots and the Caps blocked 21 shot from Pittsburgh shooters.
  • David Steckel was masterful in the face-off dot. He won 13 of his 17 draws. The team was less as effective winning 34 and losing 37.
  • Michael Nuevirth stopped 25 of 27 shots in the game and 5 of 7 in the shootout.
  • Great set up for the Winter Classic when the two team rematch outdoors in Pittsburgh.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary
Shootout Summary

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