For the first period it looked like the Penguins were once again going to have one of those games where they just come out flat and no matter the talent level of the opponent they were going to drop a game at the CONSOL Energy Center. Luckily the Penguins came out of the first intermission and completely put the Washington Capitals on notice that they were going to win the game and it wasn't going to be close.
The Penguins scored five second period goals, three of which came on the power play, and it was a route. The Capitals are just a complete dumpster fire and don't really seem to do anything. On Sunday when these two teams played Braden Holtby was left out to dry even though he gave up a couple of really soft goals but this game it was a quick hook of Michal Neuvirth after giving up only two goals early in the second period. It didn't matter as Holtby got beat three times quickly and it was pretty much all over by the second intermission.
The Penguins scored three times in 3:55 for their second, third, and fourth goals by Pascal Dupuis, James Neal (power play), and Matt Cooke and then added another power play goal with just 22 seconds left in the period. It was actually do a point where you couldn't even look away or you were going to miss a goal. The Penguins got going and the Capitals made it worse by taking penalties and the momentum that the Penguins had was just unreal.
The Penguins power play has been talked about a lot early in the season and it has gone anywhere from unwatchable to unstoppable in the span of games but tonight it was just on point and nothing the Capitals tried worked. The Penguins entered the game with a power play that was converting 24.3% of the time which was good for eighth in the league and all they did was go 3-for-4 tonight. That will raise their power play percentage to 29.3% which if all other teams stayed the same would put them third in the league. All things told it doesn't mean your power play is going good when you score (as was the case earlier in the season with the Penguins) but tonight was just a surgical like effort from the power play. They had unlimited chances and they cashed in three times. No way you will lose many games when you are clicking like the Penguins power play was tonight.
Marc Andre Fleury got a change to play for back-to-back games and turned in a pretty good performance overall. He looked pretty shaky to start the game and gave up a weird goal where he lost his mask and got knocked over but he really settled down as the game moved on and while the Capitals got a power play goal in the third period the game was already out of reach. He probably should have made the save on the second goal but hey, beggars can't be choosers. On the night he made 23 saves and to be honest I wasn't even sure if he was still alive in the second period as he only faced six shots and while the Penguins were dominating on the offensive end he didn't give the Caps a chance to get back into the game.
Everyone was good tonight. I think we could nit pick and give a few negatives but hell, it was a great performance. Crosby and Malkin each tallied three points and the secondary scoring was there with Cooke and Dupuis scoring goals. It is really a good thing the Penguins have going and they are now up to 8-3-0 on the season with seven regulation wins. During their five game winning streak the Penguins have scored 23 goals and only given up eight. You are going to win a lot of games when you are playing defense like that.
It was the first game of the season as Dylan Reese was playing for Kris Letang who missed the game with a "lower body injury" and he did just fine. He is a pretty good skater and he had just over 14 minutes of ice time. Nice little debut this season for Reese.
The Penguins dominated the faceoff circle again going 36-of-62 and when you are winning faceoffs good things are going to happen. Setting up the power play is so much easier when you can win the faceoff and don't have to carry the puck in the zone and when you can win defensive zone faceoffs that gives the offense less chance to make something happen.
Crosby is the best player in the world. He set up a couple of goals before chipping in a goal of his own. A shot was taken by Malkin and it bounced up in the air about waist high and Crosby swooped in and knocked it in mid air.
While Crobsy has been rolling a lot of people (me at times too) have been getting on Malkin for not producing. Well, all Malkin did today was have three points including a an absolute snipe job on the first Penguins power play goal. He did it quietly and while Crosby is only a few points back of the league lead in points Malkin is only one point behind Crosby. Yea.
Neal with his seventh goal of the season. Not really sure last year was a fluke. Not sure if you believe that it might have been but dude just finds the back of the net.
Home-and-home with the Devils on Saturday and Sunday. Should be a huge couple of games.