The Washington Capitals suffered their first loss of the season but at least came away with a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the rival’s first meeting of the season. It’ll be the first of eight meetings between the clubs with the next meeting coming on Tuesday.
The Penguins took an early lead on a goal from Evan Rodrigues 19 seconds into the game. The Caps fourth line played outstanding all afternoon and it was Nic Dowd that put the Caps on the board on a good look up front that saw him backhand it in at 12:04.
At 14:24 Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of the season. It was the 707th of his career. It came on a glide from the front of the net that he backhanded in with ease. 2-1 good guys was the score after 20 with the Caps leading in shots 12-8.
In the second period the Penguins tied it at the 2:10 mark with a goal from Colton Sceviour. The Caps got a power play opportunity and cashed in with a goal from Nicklas Backstrom to put them right in front at 10:09. The Penguins would answer at 12:57 from a goal by Marcus Pettersson. 3-3 was the score after two periods with the Caps getting outshot 11-3.
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The third period was scoreless but the Caps got some good looks as they outshot the Penguins 7-6. None was a greater opportunity than a shot from Ovechkin that hit the post twice.
The game would require overtime as there were just three shots that five minute period of three on three with the Pens having the edge 2-1. The game would go into a shootout with the Pens outshooting the Caps 27-23.
Ilya Samsonov stopped Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin but was unable to stop Jake Guentzel. The Caps went with T.J. Oshie, Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Ovechkin and each player came up empty.
Despite the loss the Caps get the point and their record entering Tuesday’s rematch is still a respectable 2-0-1. They’ll see the Penguins Tuesday night before heading back to D.C. for a two game set with the Buffalo Sabres where Washington won both games to begin the season.
There was a moment in the game where Tom Wilson played in the place of Daniel Sprong in the third period, but Peter Laviolette was still impressed with the way both players played. The Caps will practice tomorrow and we’ll see what kind of a lineup they’ll go with on Tuesday.