Marc-Andre Fleury saved this one, but not a howitzer from Ovie in the second period. (photo source: AP)

Pens Fall In Defensive Duel With Washington

For the second time in two days, the offensively-strapped Pittsburgh Penguins played a hard-fought, tightly-contested game against a team with scary scorers.  Unfortunately, also for the second time in two days, the Pens came up on the short end of a one-goal decision.

Still buzzing from this afternoon’s trade that sent Alex Goligoski to Dallas in exchange for hulking left winger James Neal and third-string defenseman Matt Niskanen, the Pens skated against their dreaded rival, the Washington Capitals, in Consol Energy Center.

A line-up still flooded with Baby Penguins earned several scoring chances but couldn’t beat Michal Neuvirth who made 39 saves to secure a 1-0 shutout.  The Pens dominated the first (18-7 in shots) and third (14-3 shots), but it was a second-period power play goal from Alexander Ovechkin that provided the contest’s lone red light.

The Caps were 1-for-3 with the man advantage.  Pittsburgh failed to score on its three power play opportunities.

Fans of these two successful franchises aren’t used to 1-0 decisions in this typically explosive match-up.  However, the Caps coming out on top is all too common place, at least in the regular season.  Washington has won 10 of its last 12 against the Pens outside of the playoffs.

The newest Penguins, Neal and Niskanen, are supposed to arrive in Steel Town late tonight and participate in practice tomorrow.  They should be introduced to the adoring home crowd Wednesday night when the San Jose Sharks pay a visit.

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