Recapping the Pens/Caps, Targets for the Jets, Salary Cap Problems, Jonathan Drouin, and more.
This was a game the Caps absolutely needed. With no Kris Letang, and no Olli Maatta, there were no excuses not to win, puck luck or not. A win would tie the series, and give Washington the home ice in a best-of-three. And they lost 3-2 in overtime.
It was a fairly entertaining first period, as the Caps got on the board on a sharp-angle shot from Jay Beagle. The goal was apparently due to a tendency the Caps have found…
Pittsburgh would square things a little later on a deflected shot eventually credited to Sidney Crosby, and it was tied going into the intermission.
The teams would trade goals in the second, so we were off to the third period locked at two goals each.
From about the mid-point of the second on, it looked like the Caps were really taking over. Pittsburgh was just hanging on in their own end, while they were looking for any type of fluke goal on Holtby at the other. This graph from HockeyStats.ca would seem to confirm this, as a span of over 23 minutes saw one even strength scoring chance for the Pens, and 11 for the Caps. That was more how this game should have gone from the start.
Hornqvist would bury the overtime winner off a puck that was deflected to him, and send Consol into a frenzy. It was a game the Caps probably deserved to win, the second game in a row, but such is hockey.
It was worth noting that with Letang and Maatta both out, the Penguins turned to Justin Schultz to run their top power play unit. Not that this is significant right now, but we’ll see what happens in the offseason. Daley was on the point for a late-game power play, but that may have been more for defensive purposes. They would never supplant Letang on the top PP unit, but if Schultz returned next year, and Letang was injured (as he’s been known to do), that is some easy points for fantasy owners.
Speaking of Caps/Pens, I had to laugh. Here is Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole getting admonished by an usher for chirping the Capitals players too hard, or too much, or both.