If you were told before the game that the Penguins were going to outshoot the Capitals 41-19 and would stay out of the penalty box for the entirety of regulation then what percent chance would you have of the Penguins winning that game and getting two points? 70%? 80%? 90%? Well you would have been wrong as the Penguins ended regulation in a 2-2 tie and then lost it in overtime on a power play goal by Dennis Wideman. Damn.
To be honest I didn’t get to watch the game until the third period but got to listen to the radio for the first two periods and it sounds and looked like the Penguins played a pretty damn good hockey game and any time you outshoot your opponent by 22 shots you should probably get two regulation points.
James Neal was an absolute monster tonight. He opened the scoring for the Pens in the first period on a one time shot from Steve Sullivan that beat Tomas Vokoun and then in the third period with just under four minutes remaining and down by one he found the back of the net on the power play to tie the score. Neal is much more consistent this season with hitting the net and it is paying off already. He now has four goals on the season and his chemistry with Evgeni Malkin and Steve Sullivan is great. I know people are talking about how good he may be when Crosby comes back but right now there is no way I take him off Malkin and Sullivan’s line.
The Penguins absolutely dominated play in the first and third periods. They outshot the Caps 12-3 in the first period and then outshot them 18-3 in the third period. It is really a shame that the Penguins only got one point on the night.
This team is totally different with Malkin on the ice. I know that might be a pretty obvious statement but the pure skill that he brings to the ice is really remarkable. He was seeing the ice very well tonight and was making some pretty nifty passes and was in on both of the Penguins goals tonight. Coincidence? I think not.
Pretty interesting situation in the game tonight. In the third period with about 14 minutes left the Capitals Jay Beagle roughed up Kris Letang a little bit and knocked his helmet off. He would be assessed a roughing penalty for that but Arron Asham would challenge Beagle to a little fight and both obliged. They each got a few jabs in then Ashom absolutely gave a knocked out blow that knocked Beagle out cold before he hit the ice. After the fight Asham did a little bit of celebrating by crossing his arms and then doing a sleeping gesture. Here is the video via Puck Daddy:
I know I am in the minority of a lot of people when it comes to fighting and what needs to happen with it. Actually I don’t care if fighting is in the game or not but I just think it is hard for the league to try and ban head shots if you are allowed to intentionally give head shots in fight since both parties agree to it. I just think that is a cop out for a league that wants to clean up the injuries, but I really don’t mind fighting. The gestures after the fight probably wasn’t the best idea since his opponent was clearly injured but it is hard to tell if Asham knew that.
I know a lot of Pens fans thought it was awesome but I would just ask if you would have the same reaction if someone did that to a Penguins player? Probably not. This is no way like what Gillies did to Tangradi last season so please don’t act like that is what I am saying but still probably a little uncalled for since Beagle was pretty banged up. After the game Asham owned up to it by saying that his gestures after the fight were "uncalled for" and "kind of classless on my part." I can buy that. He was protecting his teammate by getting into the fight and he won it fair, square and convincingly. If he had to do it over again would he have done that? Probably not but we will never know. I will chalk it up to a heat of the moment thing.
The rest of the game was about the Penguins just not putting a team away when they dominated for two periods. It sucks but the Penguins still got a point with no Crosby, Orpik or Fleury. I know it seems like we say “well, we got a point” a lot but I am willing to take this.
If there is one thing we can take from this game before I get going it’s that Mike Knuble owns the Penguins. He scored again on them and it seems like every time he plays the Penguins he just absolutely kills them. No idea what it would take but the Penguins need to trade for him so they can maybe sleep easier. Just unreal what he does when he plays them.
Buffalo comes to the CONSOL on Saturday. Get ready.