Wow! Just plain Wow! After watching that display of raw firepower, the Penguins win 7 – 4 over the Capitals, Wow!
I was just sitting here thinking about this game; I was thinking about how Tom Wilson leaped up off his skates to hit Ian Cole with a high hit. I was thinking about T.j. Oshie crosschecking Kris Letang in the neck. I was thinking about Chandler Stephenson kicking Olli Maatta’s skates out from under him. I was thinking about all of the cheap, dirty hits the Capitals got caught for and the ones that they didn’t and I couldn’t help but remember some scenes from the movie Tombstone; first when the cowboys killed Morgan Earp, shot up Virgil and tried to kill their wives/girlfriends.
That pretty much sums up the cheap and dirty play of the Caps.
Soon after is the scene Wyatt Earp comes up behind Stillwell and Ike Clanton as Stillwell and Clanton thought they were going to finish off Virgil and Wyatt on the train out of town. Ike asks Mattie, “Where’s Wyatt” Wyatt says right behind you Clanton and then lets Stillwell have it. Ike drops his gun and cowers. Then Wyatt walks up to Ike and says “You called down the thunder, well now you’ve got it.”
That is basically what Evgeni Malkin said to the Caps, and pretty much the rest of the league in the aftermath of the Penguins win. The big Russian continued his torrid pace with 2 goals and 2 assists. Striding right beside him was his Doc Holiday, otherwise known as Phil Kessel, who potted 2 goals and 1 assist of his own.
I know I have been recapping the Penguins goals after games but I could be here all night trying to recap the onslaught to which the Penguins subjected the Capitals. It is now past midnight and I do have to get some sleep. Suffice it to say, the Penguins once again chased a shell-shocked Braden Holtby from his net. Our Penguins deposited 7 goals into the Capitals’ net on 39 shots on goal.
The difference in this game really was the power play/special teams. Three of the Penguins goals were scored on 4 power play opportunities. A fourth goal was scored on the open ice of the 4 on 4 play that T.J. Oshie drew with his attempt to injure Kris Letang. Even though the League will no doubt turn a blind eye to 10 time losers Oshie and Wilson and their blatant dangerous play, Wyatt Malkin and Doc Kessel made them pay.
I am sorry, I hate to sound like a sore winner, but I also found the officiating less than adequate on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal. It looked like a pretty clear cut hand pass from Alexander Ovechkin.
There is no time to rest though, the Penguins take on the Devils on the back end of another back-to-back series. The Devils are 1 point behind our locals with 3 games in hand and they will be rested.
Odds and Sods
The win pushes the Penguins back into sole possession of 2nd place. I hate to get too excited just yet, since most teams in the division have games in hand. However, a big win like the one the Penguins just had, especially against a divisional rival, making it a 4 point swing, does bode well.
Patric Hornqvist left the game after a big open ice hit by former Penguin Brooks Orpik. Early reports say that it is a lower body injury and that Hornqvist will not travel to New Jersey. Let’s hope it isn’t anything serious.
I hate to say I told you so but… I did say that hockey players really aren’t afraid of much and getting Ryan Reaves really wouldn’t deter players like Oshie and Wilson from playing dirty. Reaves played last night but Wilson and Oshie still played like thugs.
Jamie Oleksiak continues to impress in all facets of his game. Although Olli Maatta was the designated hitter last night, dishing out 7 hits, Oleksiak checked in right behind him with 4 hits. He also showed great mobility taking command of the puck and leading several rushes. And Oleksiak led the team in blocked shots last night with 4 of them. I said it before and I will say it again, great scouting Sergei Gonchar!
With Sheary already out, if Hornqvist is out for a protracted period, does Mike Sullivan summon Daniel Sprong back up and maybe Zach Aston-Reese from Wilkes-Barre Scranton (WBS)?
Speaking of WBS the Baby Penguins dropped the Hershey Bears last night as well. Andrey Pedan led the way with 2 goals (including the game winner). Sprong picked up 2 assists. Aston-Reese also notched and assist. Sprong still leads the club with 19 goals and 34 points despite playing 8 games up with the big club. Aston-Reese is 3rd in scoring after a slow start with 9 goals and 20 assists. Aston-Reese is also tied for second on the club in +/- at +21. Pedan has 7 goals and 16 points in 38 games. Pedan also has a very good +/- at +16 and leads the team in penalty minutes with 61.