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McCann on Fire, Malkin Gets 1000; Penguins Bounce Capitals 5-3



Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 12: Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) reacts after Pittsburgh Penguins Right Wing Jake Guentzel (59) (not pictured) scored a goal during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals on March 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

More from Pens vs. Capitals: Dan’s 3 Takeaways | Malkin’s 1000th Point | PHN Extra Report Card

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins caught fire in the second period and Evgeni Malkin scored his 1000th point in front of his family. The Penguins closed to within four points of the Washington Capitals in the Metro Division and continued their hot streak– 6-1-2 in their last nine games starting with the Stadium Series game versus Philadelphia.

After several near misses, Washington finally found the net and lit the lamp, late in the first period. After an uncharacteristic mistake by Penguins center Sidney Crosby who failed to get the puck deep at the blue line, Washington loaded up on transition. With a 4-on-2 rush, Jakub Vrana (20) whipped a wrist shot over Penguins goalie Matt Murray from the right wing circle.

Then midway through the second period, Murray joined the Penguins sleep-walkathon. From the right wall, Vrana’s (21) long wrist shot bounced off Murray’s shoulder, straight up, and bounced behind Murray, just across the goal line.

It would be Florida acquisition Jared McCann who’d light the Penguins fire. The first of the Penguins three goals in 1:48 was exactly the type of play which sparks a team.

And boy did it.

Jared McCann lifted the stick of Evgeny Kuznetsov in the Washington zone and charged to the net. He laid a soft pass across the crease to Jake Guentzel (35) and the Penguins had life.

Prior to the goal, the Penguins had just three shots in the previous 15 minutes, including one power-play shot.

Just 47 seconds later, Sidney Crosby chased Justin Schultz lob-wedge pass which landed neatly inside the Washington zone. Crosby (32) had a breakaway goal as Washington goalie Braden Holtby went for a cross-check, not a poke check, as a matter of defense.

Crosby tucked the puck between Holtby’s pads, then converted another chance one minute later. After Nicklas Backstrom gave the Penguins a power play by tripping Evgeni Malkin, Crosby (33) snapped a one-timer past a scrambling Holtby.

Malkin earned the second assist on the goal for his 999th career point.

In the blink of an eye, McCann’s spark had become an inferno.

The Penguins crowd further roared its approval when the Penguins earned a 4-2 lead and Malkin scored his 1000th point, midway through the third period. With Alex Ovechkin in the penalty box serving the Washington too many men penalty, the Penguins power play executed one of their tic-tac-toe plays.

Phil Kessel (23) finished it, but Malkin earned another assist. The scoreboard caught tears in the eyes of Malkin’s father, as the PPG Paints Arena crowd chanted “Geno”.

The Penguins didn’t escape without a few close calls. Washington defenseman John Carlson (11) crept near the crease and pounced on an Ovechkin rebound.

McCann added an empty netter to make it 5-3, his 18th goal of the season.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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2 years ago

3 our of 4 against CBJ, CBJ, BOS & WASH is a pretty good week. My aging heart could’ve done without that late Carlson goal, but Pens/Caps is always gives good bang for your buck.

2 years ago

What a game! Both teams had numerous high scoring chances. I’m glad the good guys came out on top. The battle displayed by the team during 5×5 was strong and determined minus the play of 81. He skated with deer in the headlights look on 5×5. I’ll give credit where it is due. 81 made an accurate, quick pass to 87 on the PP goal and was quick to score a PP goal on the hard shot from 71. 81 is a special teams player. For the Pens to beat the Caps while essentially down a forward on 5×5 is… Read more »

Plain take
Plain take
2 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo58

Lay off 81. First off in your comment you don’t even get the players right. It was 4 who shot the puck that 81 put into the net, not 71…71 was the secondary. You are complaining about a guy with a hot goal and hotter assist for this game. 81’s overall defensive game and back checking has been his best this season. Why don’t you move to Toronto and join all of those other 81 haters.

2 years ago
Reply to  Plain take

Hahahahaha hahahahahaha. Phil, is that you?

William R. Maloni Sr
William R. Maloni Sr
2 years ago

What Ricardo said!!

Be nice to get Letang, ZAR, and Rust back.

Shout out to Gudbranson.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

Never can complain about a win over the Caps, but really, how much longer does Murray have to stand on his head? Seventeen shots against in the third period are way too many. And 14 total giveaways? Have to close out games better.

2 years ago

I know I’m nit picking here, but…McCann did not strip the puck from Orpik, he stripped it from Kuznetsov

Joseph Steigerwald
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick

You are correct, sir. Fixed.

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