Michael Nylander's goal ties score in Period 3.
Capitals 4 - Penguins 3
The Washington Capitals started off Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins a little shaky once again, a disturbing trend for the season so far. However, the come from behind finish was almost as good as it gets.
The Capitals looked like a completely different team from that which had so completely dominated their opponent in the previous game. The Penguins had apparently gotten wind of the spanking Washington had put on the Vancouver Canucks, and decided to use a trap type defense to keep from getting run over in their own building. This seemed to take the Caps by surprise, as Pittsburgh built a three goal lead over them within the first 22 minutes of play.
John Erskine causes Sidney Crosby to turn over puck.
As the game went along, goaltender Jose Theodore and the Capitals steadied themselves and changed the tempo of the game to their preferred faster pace. Tomas Fleischmann softly backhanded a deflected Brooks Laich attempt into the open side of the Pens' net part way through the second period. Then it was fight time. Because of a busted lip sustained in his bout with Paul Bissonnette, Washington forward Matt Bradley ended up spending his five minute major getting stitched up, but he did return later. A few minutes after the fight, Pittsburgh's Russian forward Evgeni Malkin was awarded a two minute minor penalty for boarding. Everyone who saw the dirty high stick ramming from behind he gave Alexander Semin, knows it should've been a five minute major. But these events, along with Sidney Crosby showing what a prat he is by bumping Semin from behind at the side wall a few minutes later, seemed to energize Washington.
The Capitals took control of the game in the third period. Semin potted his fourth goal of the season early on. Exactly halfway through the third, Michael Nylander evened the score at 3-3 on a play started by John Erskine causing Crosby to turn over the puck in the Caps end. The final blow by Washington wasn't allowed an on ice celebration. Boyd Gordon's game winning goal was only confirmed upon video review while play continued on. The puck went in and back out of the net so fast, the referees didn't quite catch it. During the next stoppage in play, the goal was awarded.
Boyd Gordon's Game Winning 3rd Period Goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury played well in Pittsburgh's net, but his team wasn't ready for the surge from Washington. Evgeni Malkin wasn't ready for all those massive hits from the best forward in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin. It was nice to get a win in a building that hasn't been very kind to the Cap's in many a visit. After the final seconds ran off the clock, Sydney Crosby congratulated Ovechkin with a bump from behind and a few unkind words. No doubt, when the Capitals got back home, they all took long hot showers in order to wash off the filth of Pittsburgh. Perhaps they use a special decontamination chamber. Fantastic win in any case.
All Photos - Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press