At long last, the Washington Capitals met the Pittsburgh Penguins in a real game of hockey. And while the Caps sure had the puck a lot in this one, the Penguins had it more where it mattered.
Lars Eller kicked us off with a wristshot from the slot, but the Penguins came back with a goal off some person named Sam Lafferty, who I don’t know and won’t respond to. Patric Hornqvist got a short-side goal on Samsonov to give Pittsburgh a lead after twenty weird minutes.
That lead grew in the second period with Dominik Simon going five-hole with a backhand shot during a defensive breakdown. Evgeny Kuznetsov narrowed it to a one-goal lead with a filthy backhand in the third period. Brandon Tanev deflected a shot off Orlov to score, but Eller immediately responded by roofing the puck behind Matt Murray. The Caps pressed late but couldn’t tie it.
When they force you to be a Capitals fan. pic.twitter.com/lJYzBjn67t
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 2, 2020
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these suits are trash
might as well wear a trashbag pic.twitter.com/4TwIZu1jk1
— Peter Hassett 🌮 (@peterhassett) February 2, 2020
Ilya Samsonov got his first loss in a start since November 15. Sammy did well overall, but the defense in front of him was not nearly as stout as it has been for him in the past. As much as the Caps controlled the flow of the game, they were unable to keep chances out of the crease — giving Samsonov a difficult workload that Braden Holtby surely found familiar.
Even though the Caps out-attempted the Penguins two-to-one during five-on-five play, the Penguins got more chances from high-danger areas. Those defensive problems, plus continued distress on the power play and some iffy bench management paint a worrying picture to me about how the league’s best team is being led.
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