The Pittsburgh Penguins scored within the first minute of the game but again allowed the tying goal immediately following their success. The Washington Capitals seized the third period and not even a late Penguins power play in the final minutes could erase the Washington lead.
Pittsburgh public enemy No. 1 Tom Wilson (22) finished a two-on-one with a wicked wrister midway through the third period. It stood as the winner. Evgeni Malkin hit the post on the late power play, but that was all. Evgeny Kuznetsov (23) scored a long-range empty netter and Washington beat the Penguins 6-3 at PPG Paints Arena.
Martin Fehervary (7) scored a second empty-netter in the closing seconds.
The Penguins lost their fourth straight and the Washington Capitals are now four points behind the Penguins for third place in the Metro Division with two games in hand.
The teams didn’t waste time setting up for a wild and sometimes sloppy first period.
Just 45 seconds into the game, the Penguins crashed the net. Four Penguins outnumbered the Washington defenders and Bryan Rust collected the garbage (24) from the doorstep for a 1-0 lead.
However, as was a problem last Saturday in a loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Penguins immediately yielded a goal in the following seconds.
Just 15 seconds after the goal, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin lost the puck, then Evgeni Malkin turned it over. Marcus Johansson (7), whom the Capitals re-acquired at the trade deadline, was alone in front and chipped the puck over goalie Tristan Jarry.
Washington even took the lead before their goalie Ilya Samsonov sprung a leak.
Dmitry Orlov raced down the left wing and beat Jarry to the glove side. It appeared the Penguins goalie lost his angle, just enough to open the far side of the net, which Orlov filled.
However, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a pair of goals in the final 90 seconds of the first period; a pair of goals that Samsonov and the Capitals would prefer to see him stop.
Penguins winger Evan Rodrigues took the puck to the net. Samsonov made that save, but Jeff Carter’s rebound putback trickled through Samsonov for a 2-2 tie.
The Penguins fourth line, with Teddy Blueger at center and Brian Boyle on the left wing worked the Capitals defense in the low zone. Boyle was uncovered along the goal line–Samsonov assumed pass and left the top of the net open. Boyle (10) didn’t pass and deposited a short wrister over Samsonov for a 3-2 lead.
Both goalies tightened up in the second period.
And both coaches breathed a little easier.
Just as the first period ended well, the second period began in the dumpster. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are the least penalized team in the NHL, took three successive penalties within the first four minutes at the beginning of the second period. Kris Letang was called for interference. Jeff Carter high-sticked T.J. Oshie. and then Brian Dumoulin slapped a bouncing puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty.
The Penguins had all three in the penalty box simultaneously, a nearly two-minute five-on-three. On the Capitals two-man advantage, Alex Ovechkin (44) blasted a shot from his office in the left-wing circle past Jarry to tie the game, 3-3.
After two periods, the shots were nearly even, 26-25 for Washington, which then fired 10 shots in the first nine minutes of the third period for a 36-29 edge, and finished with a 45-32 edge to underscore their third-period advantage.