WASHINGTON – The Capitals saw their five-game win streak halted on Wednesday at the hands of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Alex Ovechkin was kept off the scoresheet for the first time in 15 games as Sidney Crosby led the Penguins to the narrow 2-1 victory.
Here are four reasons the Caps lost.
Both the Caps and Penguins have been struggling on special teams of late. Wednesday’s game offered plenty of opportunities for both teams on the man advantage, but only Pittsburgh was able to cash in.
Washington had five power play opportunities but failed to score even once and looked unsure of themselves on every opportunity. The real issue was moving the puck into the offensive zone. Once the power play was set up, the Caps looked as dangerous as always. Getting the puck through the defensive and the neutral zone, however, was a real struggle.
The Caps were able to kill off three of Pittsburgh’s power plays, but allowed one goal and it proved to be crucial.
The lone power play goal came in the second period as Sidney Crosby deflected in a point shot from Evgeni Malkin to put the Penguins on the board.
The Caps had a number of high-quality opportunities, but many of those opportunities sailed clear of Pittsburgh's net. Washington’s sights were a bit off on the night as they missed the net 22 times over the course of the game. Ovechkin had eight of those misses and saw his 14-game point streak come to an end as a result.
While Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet, Crosby was not.
Crosby deflected in his team’s first goal and was credited with an assist on the second. He was originally credited with the goal as he swung his stick as it bounced in the crease, but replay showed he never actually touched it. The goal was given to Bryan Rust and Crosby had to settle for the assist.
Save of the night by Marcus Pettersson
With about six minutes left in the game and the Caps trailing by one, Lars Eller finally beat goalie Matt Murray. His shot trickled through the Pittsburgh netminder and to the goal line, but Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson made a diving save the sweep the puck off the goal line just before it trickled over.
It was the third close call of the night as Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov both hit the post earlier as well.
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