September 23, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 62 Recap: Comeback Caps do it again, beat Pens on late power play goal

LATE THIRD-PERIOD POWER PLAY GOAL LIFTS CAPS OVER PENS

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

The Washington Capitals came out slow, got their stuff together, came roaring back, and beat a quality opponent with a late to goal to keep their season record above record-setting pace.

Tuesday, Matt Niskanen (or was it T.J. Oshie?) was the player that scored the late goal, and it was the dreaded Pittsburgh Penguins that suffered the come-from-ahead loss to these never-say-die Caps, as Washington escaped with a 3-2 win before an enthralled Verizon Center crowd.

Oshie seemed to have gotten a piece of Niskanen’s slap shot from center point, which came with 6:22 to go, but as of late Tuesday the goal was awarded to the defenseman, his fourth of the year.

Regardless, Braden Holtby (28 saves) and the Caps D was able to make it stand up over those final few playoff-like intense moments. Holtby won his 40th of the season, becoming the first Caps goalie to win 40 in back-to-back seasons.

On a day in which our nation’s citizens were casting votes toward their political party’s nominations for President, back in the nation’s capital it was all about hockey. But the Caps (46-12-4, 96 points) might have been caught thinking about Super Tuesday early, as they were completely out-skated and dominated in the first 20 minutes.

The Caps didn’t get their first shot on goal until almost midway through the period, and they trailed 1-0 after one thanks to Evgeni Malkin’s 24th goal of the season — the Russian sniper’s first goal since returning from an 11-game absence due to a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh made it 2-0 just 3:45 into the second, as Patric Hornqvist snuck a backhander past Holtby after a defensive breakdown turned into a three-on-one.

That got the Caps going. Just a couple of minutes later, Nate Schmidt‘s shot from the point was muted, but Mike Richards gathered the loose puck and flung it toward the Pittsburgh goal, through a screen by Tom Wilson, and past rookie goalie Matt Murray (34 saves), making his sixth NHL appearance. to get the Caps on the board.

Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it up with just under four minutes to play in the period. Justin Williams carried the puck below the goal line and his wrap-around attempt was stopped, but Kuznetsov pounced on the rebound and flicked it past Murray’s blocker tie  it at two.

The Caps had the better of play through much of the third, though there was plenty of physicality on both sides. it stayed tied until the 6:22 mark when Niskanen’s blast from center point on the power play was tipped by Oshie on its way through a make of bodies in the slot.

NEXT GAME: In what’s sure to be one of the most emotional and memorable games this season, the Caps host the return of Brooks Laich and the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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