PITTSBURGH -- Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night at Consol Energy Center:
How it happened: T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom combined for two goals and three assists and John Carlson had a goal and one assist, but it was Braden Holtby’s 44 saves that provided the difference in the Caps’ win. Holtby made 30 stops in the first two periods and another 14 in the third period to stretch his own points streak to 12 games. He is 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts. He stopped Evgeni Malkin four times in the slot in the second period, and stole a goal away from Olli Maatta in the third of a perfect feed from Sidney Crosby.
What it means for the Caps: The Caps (21-6-2, 44 points) finished their road trip with a 2-1-0 record and are now 9-1-1 in their last 11. They moved ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for the most points in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand. They are also two points behind the NHL-leading Dallas Stars, who have played one more game.
What it means for the Penguins: The Penguins fell to 2-3-3 in their last eight games and 0-1-0 under new coach Mike Sullivan.
Sid vs. Ovi: Sidney Crosby (51) and Alex Ovechkin (38) combined to score 89 points in their previous 34 head-to-head matchups but did not factor in Monday night’s scoring.
Drop those gloves: Two nights after Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt got into his first NHL fight, Caps blue liner Taylor Chorney got into his first scrap as well – at least in the regular season. Chorney and Nick Bonino went at it with 2:35 remaining in the second period. Chorney connected with a right uppercut, then took an overhand right from Bonino before they went to their respective dressing rooms with cheers from their teammates. Chorney has had five AHL fights. His last in the NHL came in a 2010 preseason game when he fought Arizona’s Vernon Fiddler.
Oshie hit: T.J. Oshie angered the Penguins bench and most of the sellout crowd when he checked Beau Bennett hard into the boards with 1:29 remaining in the first period. Bennett left the ice protecting his shoulder and did not return.
Double dose of Beagle: The Caps’ checking line of Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson had a very strong night against the Pens’ top two lines. Beagle alternated between smothering Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Look ahead: The Caps are back in action Thursday night at Verizon Center against the Ottawa Senators.