Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 6-2 loss Sunday night in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center:
How it happened: The Caps fought back from an early two-goal deficit to tie the score on second-period goals by Jason Chimera (off his head) and Andre Burakovsky (on a breakaway), but it all unraveled after that. The Penguins ran off four unanswered goals, three of them in the third period, to complete the rout.
What it means: The loss was the Caps’ most lopsided since a 5-0 thrashing by the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 13. The Caps (51-15-5, 107 points) also missed a chance to clinch their first Metropolitan Division title. The win was the Penguins’ sixth straight and moved them into a second-place tie with the Rangers in the Metro with identical 40-24-8 records.
Weber on the hot seat?: Caps defenseman Mike Weber received a five-minute boarding major when he drove Bryan Rust into the boards midway through the third period. Rust was not injured on the play, but his head slammed into the boards and Weber could face a hearing on Monday for the hit. Weber has never been suspended in his eight-year NHL career.
Bitter rivals: The game featured some of the biggest hits of the season, including crushing blows by Brooks Orpik on forward Patric Hornqvist and Alex Ovechkin on defenseman Brian Humoulin, who did not return. Tom Wilson led all Caps with six hits, followed by Ovechkin and Weber with five each.
Tough in the third: The Capitals were outscored 3-0 in the third period for the first time this season. The Caps are still the NHL’s best third-period team with a plus-31 goal differential, but the Penguins are the best at holding a lead. The Pens are now 33-0-0 when leading after two periods. The Caps are 34-0-1.
Until we meet again: The Caps and Penguins have split their four meetings this season. They meet for the final time in the regular season on April 7 at Verizon Center.
If the season ended today: The top-seeded Caps would face the eighth-seeded Detroit Red Wings in Round 1. The Wings (83 points) hold a three-point lead on the ninth-seeded Flyers, who have two games in hand on Detroit.
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