Connect with us

Penguins

WHEW! Penguins Thrive Then Survive Washington for 4-3 Win

Published

on

Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray

The Washington Capitals laid siege to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period, not even a late third period goal by Penguins winger Brandon Tanev could quell the Washington tidal wave. Moments after Tanev scored to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead, Lars Eller scored his second goal of the game and not a single seatback was used at the Capital One Center.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray was the ultimate difference between winning and losing as the Penguins recently maligned goalie recaptured his big-game form and the Penguins survived the Washington onslaught with a 4-3 win.

Washington outshot the Penguins 13-5 in the third period but numbers can be deceiving. It appeared to be 100-1. The Penguins (33-14-5) closed to within four points of Washington (35-13-5) at the top of the Metro Division.

“We were on our heels quite a bit. They had the majority of the momentum,” Jack Johnson said. “We finally got a couple of shifts down in their end and “Tanner” scored. We definitely need to do a better job when they put on the push.”

After the teams were done trading power plays and penalties, the Penguins and Washington traded three goals in two minutes in the middle of the first period. Washington grinder Lars Eller struck first. A couple of Penguins defensive zone coverages, including one by Jared McCann, left Eller open in the slot. Eller (12) roofed a wrist shot past Penguins goalie Matt Murray.

One minute later, a Penguins grinder tied the game. Recently recalled Sam Lafferty intercepted an errant breakout pass at center ice and took advantage of the sagging Washington defenders. Lafferty (5) fooled Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov with a high, short side wrister.

“It’s about playing the right way and back to the basics of what makes me tick as a player,” Lafferty said of his hopes to stick in the lineup.

And 40 seconds after the Penguins tied the game, they went ahead went Patric Hornqvist (12) deftly tipped a soft shot meant for his blade by John Marino.

The Penguins unleashed the hounds on the forecheck. The Penguins forced Washington into 10 first-period turnovers.

Midway through the second period, Penguins winger Dominik Simon was the glad recipient of one of the Washington whoops. After McCann pressured the Washington defensemen into a turnover, then won a puck battle behind the net. Sidney Crosby got the first shot, which Samsonov stopped, but Simon (5) pulled the rebound around Samsonov for a two-goal lead.

The Penguins peppered Samsonov with 16 shots in the second period and generally had the better of play.

After a couple of thundering hits by Tom Wilson, the Washington team and crowd sprang to life. Washington bombarded the Penguins for the first half of the third period. And Wilson hit everything that moved. The powerful Wilson had 13 hits.

“As a hockey player, you want to be in those kind of games. Meaningful, against a division rival,” Sidney Crosby said. “I think guys get up for that. There’s enough guys around who have played in these games for a long time and for the new guys they get a feel right away for the intensity and emotion of the game.”

Eventually, Evgeny Kuznetsov (18) converted a few failed Penguins clearing attempts when he barged to the Penguins net and his backhander deflected off defenseman John Marino.

In the final three minteus, Penguins winger Brandon Tanev (11) scored a fluky goal which deflected off Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov. However, just 18 seconds later, Eller scored to keep the pressure on the Penguins.

Murray made 29 saves on 32 shots and was easily the Penguins top player. Samsonov stopped 29 of 33 shots.

Subscribe to PHN+

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.

13 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
13 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
King Penguin
King Penguin
1 year ago

Let’s not kid ourselves — Murray is the ONLY reason the Pens stole two points on the road today. Their third period was aw-ful. When the Caps dialed it up physically, there was no push-back.

If these teams meet in the playoffs, the Pens would win a short series and the Caps would win a long one.

The Binker
The Binker
1 year ago

Murray hasn’t lost this calendar year and he’s a “recently maligned goalie”? Uh, ohhh-kaaaaay, Dan, if you say so.

The Binker
The Binker
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

A few dozen dumbass Penguins fans boo a player and he becomes maligned. C’mon, Dan, you’re better than that!

Sweet Lew
Sweet Lew
1 year ago
Reply to  The Binker

Murray’s teammates and coaches don’t believe he’s “maligned,” and that’s all that counts.

BTW, I would like to know how many local sports media played travel hockey at the lower levels let alone a college team. Bet the answer is no more than 10 percent.

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist
1 year ago

Wow that third period was pure déjà vu. Felt like one of the ‘16 or ‘17 playoff wins against caps where we got the lead and hung on for dear life. Murray was superb. Man if we can get a tandem going where both guys are real strong that would be awesome.

Question Dan…

If the caps have the presidents trophy, and we tahe it, does that count as impeachment?

David Heyl
David Heyl
1 year ago

Letang looked like a Matador on Eller’s second goal. 29 minutes is way too much for a d man in a physical game. Pens PP is their defense against physical teams & it really was a none factor that lead to a very physical 3 rd period. Need to get back to basics on PP, SHOOT !!!!!

E.J.
E.J.
1 year ago

Letang should never play Bobby Orr minutes. He’s not good enough. I swear, the dude skated with 25-pound weights on his legs in the third period.

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

Takeaways Positive. Matt Murray . He’s your starter of the playoffs begin this week Lafferty . Please stay this time. Yes Simon .7th goal still not enough but starting to finish. But in the PP? Why Angelo need to see more but at last it’s something and he didn’t hurt the team. Plus he meshed w Lafferty . Tanev . Mr 3rd period . He’s a cluth player. Negatives 0-6 on the PP . Wow game could have been put away with one . Or at least less stressful. I don’t know how to fix it but blind passes and… Read more »

King Penguin
King Penguin
1 year ago

Here’s what else is significant about today: The Caps showed their hand, but the Pens did not.

Jarry still has never played against the Capitals in his career. They have no book on him. That gives the Pen a trump card to play in the playoffs if necessary. Meanwhile, not only do the Pens know something about Samsonov now, but they’ve had success against him.

Or to put it another way, Sully smoked Rierden like a bad cigar.

King Penguin
King Penguin
1 year ago

For that reason, I would not play Jarry against the Caps in the final three matchups unless Murray was unavailable.

Join PHN Extra!

Join PHN+ today for exclusive content from Dan and Shelly plus a completely Google ad-free experience.

PHN+

Or enter your email below to sign-up for our mailing list.

Thank you!

Something went wrong.

No thanks. I don't want.