Picking up where they left on Sunday, the Pens once again embarrassed the Capitals, this time 5-2, improving their record to 8-3-0.
Holding a 1-0 advantage about halfway through the second period, it would be the only lead the Caps would see, as Pittsburgh would go on to score five and extend their winning streak to that same amount (5).
Maybe the Pens ought to play the Caps more often because in the two meetings they’ve had this season, Pittsburgh has tallied 11 goals. And to make it sound even more impressive, that’s an eye-popping average of 5.5 goals-per-game.
Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t see too much work on the night stopping 23 of 25 shots. In fact, Fleury didn’t have to face a Washington power-play until the third period, in which the Pens already had the game in check.
On the year, Fleury now has a 5-2 record in seven starts. Starting to build up a little consistency, Fleury now has a .909 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against-average with a shut-out yet to be registered.
Offensively, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin collected a goal and two helpers each, while James Neal also did his thing by recording one goal and one assist. Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis each had one tally and assists were distributed by Chris Kunitz (2), Brandon Sutter (1) and Paul Martin (1).
Although the game hadn’t started out exactly how Pittsburgh had wanted it to, the team responded emphatically.
And now that the team is starting to show signs of the dominating Pittsburgh team of old–the rest of the league has got to be watching the show.
Yes, the teams that they’ve beat recently have had inconsistent play all season long. However, they did handle the New Jersey Devils well, and the Devils are currently sitting a point behind the Pens for the lead in the Atlantic.
Not to mention New Jersey is the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
But the team is winning games now for Pittsburgh–rather than the superstars. Every player is performing at a high-level on a steady basis and contributions are plentiful, and more prevalent amongst the bottom half of the lineup now.
The puck management has been flawless and plays are being made when they need to be. Across the board, the Pens have got to be elated by their recent play.
They mustn’t slow down though, as they get set to face the Devils in a back-to-back series over the weekend.
First game is set for tomorrow in New Jersey at 1 p.m.