How can the Pittsburgh Penguins lack energy and intensity against the dreaded rival Washington Capitals? This is a match up that I expected to have similar intensity to that of a playoff game. This was the first meeting of the season with the Caps, you have the whole Ovechkin vs. Crosby thing, the recent playoff history, all those things that Krundle mentioned in his game day poop, etc.
Nick Johnson scored his first career NHL goal in his first career game (photo by Getty)
This should have been an opportunity for the Pens to put all facets of the game together. Unfortunately, they did not grab the opportunity and run with it. In fact, they seemed to go the opposite direction. They seem to play with less intensity than normal. I personally cannot understand how our team can fall flat in a game like this. And, to rub salt in the wound, Ovechkin tallied two goals and an assist.
The Caps controlled play from the beginning of the game to the very end. They cycled the puck like the Penguins were pylons, their forcheck was aggressive and they did not allow the Pens any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. I cannot remember the Penguins having so much trouble getting the puck out of their own zone.
The Penguins did outshoot the Capitals, but that seems to be misleading. The shot total was not reflective of who controlled the game. The Pens, despite being outplayed, were in the game through two periods. Some say the turning point for the game was the two quick goals the Capitals scored in the beginning of the third period. I say it was the 50′ wristshot that Brent Johnson let in during the latter parts of the second period. To me, that is when I could feel the wind come out of the sails. That was a horrible goal to give up. The Pens were not able to pick themselves up after that point.
- Things were not all bad in this game: Nick Johnson scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, Geno played very well again accumulating 3 assists and Fedotenko played an unusually inspired game, also picking up 3 assists,.
- Not that I want to blame everything on Brent Johnson, but he did not play as well as he could.
- The power play went 0-4 while the penalty kill gave up 2 goals on 2 tries.
- The defense is in total disarray right now. There are alot of guys who need to pick their games up.
Hopefully, we see more inspired effort against the Flyers on Sunday.