Pittsburgh Penguins Routed by Capitals 4-0 as Ovechkin Scores Two


One step forward, two steps back.

After starting the second half of the season strong with a convincing 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked poised to get back to their winning ways tonight as they faced off against their longtime rivals, the Washington Capitals.

Their redemption effort was not to be.

Despite the return of captain Sidney Crosby, who missed last night’s contest due to a lower-body injury, the Pens were beaten decidedly by the Caps, who were led by Alex Ovechkin‘s two goals in their 4-0 drubbing.

It took the Washington captain only five minutes to get his team on the board, as Ovechkin set up in front of Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury and tipped a point-shot from Karl Alzner into the back of the twine.

Despite the Pens outshooting the Caps 11-8 in the first period, they couldn’t beat Washington’s Braden Holtby, and thus headed into the first intermission down 1-0.

The second stanza didn’t fare much better.

With Robert Burtuzzo in the box, the Capitals went to work on the powerplay. Though the play could’ve been predicted by everyone in attendance, defenseman Mike Green managed to get the biscuit to a wide-open Ovechkin near the left circle, allowing the Russian sniper to tally his league-leading 29th goal of the year, and second of the game.

The second and third periods belonged squarely to the Capitals as they outshot Pittsburgh 14-8 in both frames, while racking up two more goals in the third courtesy of Eric Fehr and Mike Green.

It was a poor display from a Pittsburgh team that is running out of excuses for their recent subpar play.

Sure, superstar centre Evgeni Malkin is still sidelined, and the talented forward has arguably been the team’s MVP thus far.

But the current iteration of the Penguins still boasts Sidney Crosby, David Perron, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, etc. etc.

They might not be as good as they will be when fully healthy, but this is certainly not a hobbled team anymore and losses like tonight’s are beginning to look a little more absurd.

Crosby, playing in his first game after receiving an injection to treat a lower-body ailment, looked less than stellar in his return. The captain finished with a -1 rating, 3 shots, and an abysmal 29% in the faceoff circle.

Winger David Perron looked to be one of the strongest Pens in this one as, despite racking up 3 minor penalties, the feisty forward posted a team-leading 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 takeaway.

The game also marked the Pittsburgh debut for centre Maxim Lapierre, who was recently acquired in a trade for Marcel Goc.

Playing on the third line between Nick Spaling and Steve Downie, Lapierre posted 2 shots, 2 hits, 1 block and a 36% rating in the faceoff circle.

While the loss was bad enough for Pittsburgh, the night took an even darker turn when defenseman Christian Ehrhoff collided awkwardly with Ovechkin along the boards late in the third, sending the former to the ice in a heap.

Ehrhoff seemed to hit his head on the ice before staying down for an extended amount of time. He was able to leave the ice on his own.

The team provided no update on the veteran defender following the game, but it seems likely Ehrhoff could join the Pens’ unending injury list.

Pittsburgh will look to get back on track on Jan. 30th when they take on the New Jersey Devils.