August 4, 2020

Washington Captials Game 58 Recap: No shutout, but two points again against Pens

Braden Holtby had not allowed a goal to the Pittsburgh Penguins in two previous games this season. The Pens finally got into the scorebook against him — though it took a collision pushing him into the net to do so — but the Washington Capitals had more than enough answer, emerging victorious at Consol Energy Center 3-1.

After winning 3 of 4 on the long road trip, the Caps are now one point behind the Rangers and Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Joel Ward scored on a 5-on-3 with 4:13 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and lift the Caps to a win which caps a most successful four-game road trip.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for the Caps (31-17-10), to go along with seven shots on goal and John Carlson added an empty-net short-handed goal very late in the third.Holtby made 33 saves, including all seven attempts on the penalty kill, denying the Penguins at every turn.

Ward’s tie-breaker came with Kris Letang in the box for slashing Marcus Johansson, with Chris Kunitz already sitting for boarding Ward just 11 seconds earlier.

It was that kind of night. A total of 19 penalties were doled out, including misconducts in the third against Tom Wilson and the Pens’ Craig Adams and Steve Downie. Brooks Orpik and Blake Comeau both took unsportsman-like conduct fouls, Downie and Eric Fehr were sent off for roughing and Michael Latta and Robert Bortuzzo had a second period fight.

Much of the third period nastiness stemmed from Ovechkin giving a pretty rough slash to the ankles of Letang, who then went crashing hard into the end boards. Ovechkin did not receive a penalty, though must likely should have. At that point, the on-ice officials lost any semblance of control and it was left to the player to take matters into their own hands — which always works out so well.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the making of this hockey game.

Caps come home for a couple, starting with Winnipeg (30-19-10 overall, 15-9-6 on the road) on Thursday.

Observations:

  • Ovechkin’s goal was a beauty. The Pens fumbled in the neutral zone, Ovi picked up the puck with speed just outside the Pitt blue line and came in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury (32 saves). Ovi gave a quick deke, then roofed a backhander past the sprawled French-Canadian. It was his 37th of the season, giving him a two-goal cushion over Rick Nash for the lead.
  • Wardo’s was courtesy of another scintillating feed from Nick Backstrom, the Invisible Man. As nifty a cross-crease feed you’ll see on a 5-on-3. Just like they draw it up.
  • Caps power play was 2 of 5, while Pittsburgh was 0 of 3, and is scoreless on its last 18 opportunities. It’ll get batter once Sidney Crosby is back in the lineup. Oh, wait….
  • Speaking of Sir Sidney, he was scoreless, had as many hits (2) as shots on goal, and was 50% in the dot. Yawn.
  • Jason Chimera, Steve Oleksy and Aaron Volpatti were healthy scratches. Get used to that.
  • Fehr was 11 of 19 in the dot. Yay Eric Fehr.
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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