Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: After a scoreless first two periods the Caps grabbed a 1-0 lead 1:28 into the third period on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth goal of the season, but the Penguins answered quickly on goals by Beau Bennett at 1:52 and Phil Kessel at 3:49. Nick Bonino finished off the Caps with an empty-net goal with 1:43 remaining. The real star of the night, however, was Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 33 of 34 shots for his fifth victory.
What it means: The Penguins (5-4-0, 10 points) won for the fifth time in six games and climbed within two points of the Capitals (6-2-0, 12 points), who had a five-gamne win streak snapped.
Confusion: There appeared to be some confusion on the Caps bench when Braden Holtby headed off for an extra attacker with just under 2 minutes to play. Holtby appeared to be asking to come off, but Barry Trotz seemed hesitant to pull him. When Holtby arrived to the bench Bonino scored to make it 3-1.
Faceoffs: Sidney Crosby’s ability to win draws often gets overlooked, but he went 15-for-20 in the first two periods when matched against Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom.
Saves of the night: There were plenty but the split saves Fleury made on Backstrom with about 8 minutes gone in the third period kept the Pens ahead 2-1.
Look ahead: The Caps will return to practice on Thursday at 12:30 Kettler Capitals Iceplex. They face John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night in D.C.