Braden Holtby can only do so much for the Washington Capitals. He can’t be expected to go out and score goals, too.
It looked like it was going to be a tough night for the Pittsburgh Penguins after Olli Maatta was knocked out of the game by Brooks Orpik on a high, violent hit to the head. It was the young defenseman’s second shift in the first period, leaving Pittsburgh to play the rest of the game with only five d-men. Kris Letang picked up slack with an insane 35:22 TOI.
After the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Maatta is out indefinitely and will know more on Sunday. He hammered home the hit was late and is something that should be eliminated from the league all together.
Requests to speak with Orpik following the game were declined by Capitals PR; however, Barry Trotz gave his opinion on what happened.
Barry Trotz on the Brooks Orpik-Olli Maatta hit: pic.twitter.com/0uMffpnaYn
— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) May 1, 2016
Orpik received a 2 minute penalty for interference. It was the first of five power plays for the Penguins. They were unsuccessful on all five.
The game remained tied at zero through the first period. The Penguins diluted the Capitals offensive attack, and outshot their opponent 14-5.
The first goal of the game came at 7:08 into the second period.
From behind the net, Pittsburgh center Nick Bonino makes a perfect pass to Carl Hagelin alone in the slot. He roofs it past Holtby to give the Pens the 1-0 lead.
The Capitals thought they tied it as Nate Schmidt easily flung the puck past Matt Murray, who was on his belly. The official waved the goal off right away, and gave Evgeni Kuznetsov a goaltender interference penalty.
Kuznetsov sat on the head of the goaltender. That’s not allowed.
— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 1, 2016
Pittsburgh held the shots to 14-5 for a second period in a row. Through two periods, the usually offensively dynamic Capitals were credited with only 10 shots on goal.
Things started to change in the third period as the ice tilted in the direction of the Capitals. It started with a questionable penalty call on Kris Letang.
Washington had been whistled for five penalties to the Pittsburgh’s one up to this point in the game. Perhaps this was a makeup call on the part of the officials because it sure looked like Letang and Mike Richards should’ve both hit the box for this play.
Here’s the “penalty” on Letang, which led to a goal. Bad bad bad. pic.twitter.com/ISsLOF1jOu
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 1, 2016
The Penguins had killed off over half of the penalty time on the clock before a scrum in front of the net had everyone, including the goaltender Murray, out of position.
Marcus Johansson hovered around the crease until the puck popped out, and he banked it right into the net. Tie game at 1-1.
Kris Letang was PIIIIIISSED when he came out of the box. He let the officials have it. (He also lost his helmet several times during the game. For a guy that gets a lot of head shots, he should probably invest in a new chin strap.)
With less than four minutes to go, former Capital, Eric Fehr, netted what would be the game winner.
Evgeni Malkin goes out to the side boards to retrieve the puck. He effortlessly flips the puck in the air to the front of the net. Fehr makes contact with the puck and it knuckles by Holtby.
Washington poured it on to close out the game with 14 shots to the Penguins 7, but Murray came up huge. He allowed 1 goal on 24 shots.
The game for Washington could’ve been much worse if it wasn’t for the 33 save performance by Holtby.
The Penguins evened the series all 1-1 as it shifts back to Pittsburgh.
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