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Penguins Report Card: Kapanen Busts Out, Pens Exploit Caps Weakness in 4-2 Win (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Kasperi Kapanen

The Pittsburgh Penguins took advantage of the Washington Capitals’ aggressiveness and used it to fill the net. The Penguins victimized Washington for a half dozen odd-man rushes and even finished them. They outplayed the Capitals, created turnovers, and converted their chances in a 4-2 win at Capital One Arena on Friday.

The Penguins’ top line had a new addition. Kasperi Kapanen took the right-wing as Evan Rodrigues flipped to the left in Jake Guentzel’s absence. The top line was all over it, again. Sidney Crosby had two assists, and the Penguins’ top line had most of the Penguins’ even-strength shots and scoring chances.

In fact, the Crosby line had more scoring chances (11) than the Carter and Blueger lines combined (7).

“Obviously, the way I’ve been playing hasn’t been my best, so I think it was important that I kind of get back on track and, you know, pretty easy to do that with Sid,” Kapanen said. And I thought throughout the game, we were getting a lot of chances and playing well.”

On Wednesday, Kapanen dropped the quote of the week when asked how he’s been playing, “Terrible. Thanks.”

Kapanen played like…he and the Penguins have been begging him to play. He played in all three zones, showed speed and some power down low. That’s the Kapanen former GM Jim Rutherford coughed up a first-round pick to acquire.

“I thought he had a great game. I thought he was strong on the puck. I thought he challenged Washington with his speed. He scores a great goal. He made some nice plays. He played on both sides of the puck,” head coach Mike Sullivan’s praise began. “He made a couple of wall plays coming out of our end that gave Sid and “E-Rod” and a couple of opportunities off the rush. So I thought he had a really strong game. You could tell he was excited to play, and he certainly stepped up for us.”

As a team, the Penguins did a few things very well. Washington made a tactical error, and the Penguins essentially made them eat it in the first period. Before we get to the player grades, we’ll hit the chalkboard.

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