Last night I talked about the idea of winning both games of a home-and-home and how it was difficult. I then talked about how it was tough to sweep a season series from a team when that consists of four games. Tonight the Penguins wrapped up both of those tasks by shutting out the Caps and taking the season series. The Capitals are not a very good hockey team and it would be pretty surprising if they made the playoffs. Bad times in Washington.
For the game being low scoring and a 1-0 game for much of 50 minutes it was a really fun game to watch. Penguins/Capitals games are always fun to watch but the Penguins really played on of their best games in some time. Over the past four games the Penguins had only 83 shots but tonight they put 34 pucks on the net. It was refreshing to see that the Penguins didn't forget how to put on the offense.
This game was all about Marc-Andre Fleury who was the best player on the ice. He picked up his fifth shutout of the season and while he didn't get a lot of work early he was great late and the reason the Penguins won. He faced 20 shots in the third period alone and faced a few power plays and just did an outstanding job. Earlier in the game when the Penguins were up 1-0 he made this save on Evgeny Kuznetsov:
[via Japers' Rink]
MAF has been on his game for much of the season and tonight was just a night where the Caps threw some strong chances at him late but he wasn't going to get beat.
I said this was a 1-0 game for most of the contest but Sidney Crosby ended that with about seven minutes left:
[via Japers' Rink]
He's so good.
Lee Stempniak has been really good on the top line. I mean he was also good in that first game with the Penguins when he was on the third line but for minimal cost the Penguins got someone who immediately improves the team on the top line and therefore lets some other plays fill in the bottom six.
The Penguins won 32-of-47 face-offs tonight. They have done an outstanding job in recent games and you know how I feel about winning a lot of face-offs.
The Penguins now have some time off before they play another home-and-home series against the Flyers on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is in Philadelphia while Sunday is in Pittsburgh. That will be fun.