RECAP: Game 22. Pens beat the Caps 4-0.

 
 
Nothing circles the wagons on the Internet and brings all the lulz quite like a big win over the Caps. It’s just a magical thing that never gets old.
 
This was one of the best games we've seen the Penguins play in a really long time. It is a signature win because it’s a powerful reminder of what this team can do and why everyone gets jammed when they don't play like it. It’s a signature win because this is how the game will be referenced to for the rest of the season: "Why are the Penguins playing like shit? Remember when they blew Washington out? Come on, man."
 
The Pens added yet another national-TV embarrassment of the Capitals to their belt. And the Pens are now 2-2 on Penguins Night in America on NBCSN.
 
Two huge questions for the Caps after this one.
 
1. Did Braden Holtby know there was a game? He played like someone forced him to watch that JFK/Dallas Cowboys thing on loop before the game.
2. Is Adam Oates even awake at this point? He looked near catatonic toward the end of the game.
 
Probably one of the more enjoyable games in a while.
 
RECAP:

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FIRST PERIOD

 

– It was a fire drill early when Craig Adams got called for a penalty, and the Caps started generating offense during the delayed call. Five seconds into that PP, Ovie rang one off the post. Caps didn’t threaten the rest of the game, really.
 
– After an icing call, Bylsma put the big guns out for the faceoff in the Caps’ zone. Crosby won it back to Martin, who flicked one to the net. 1-0.
 

Credit blog

 
We are the first to job Bylsma, but he coached a professional first period. A huge factor was getting Crosby and Malkin together. They were able to generate some momentum and then took it to their respetive lines. Solid move. Bylsma also worked hard to get Orpik and Martin against A.O. Martin and Orpik delivered.
 
– Beau Bennett rose from the depths of Hell. He got sprung by a nice feed from Geno, got just enough separation from the D, and went far post on Holtby. Holtby didn’t keep the best angle of all time, but what a shot. 2-0.
 
 
 
We took Bennett to task last game, but that’s when he has to ground and pound in the Pens’ system. Let him fly, and he’ll start putting the goals in.
 
– Teams exchanged power plays for nothing. Then the Pens took yet another penalty toward the end of the period. Can’t remember another time this season where the Pens have taken 3 penalties in one period.
 

STAT

 
Remember those 3 shots in the first period of the Anaheim game? Pens had 17 in this one.
 

SECOND PERIOD

 
– Looked like Crosby hit the crossbar on a shot 5 minutes into the period. Or maybe he didn’t. Either way he was about to take over.
 
– The pace was frantic for a good stretch. But in all actuality, it was Joe Vitale skating into the zone then skating behind the net with the puck a couple times. A great keep by Crosby led to Vitale and Dupuis on a quick 2-on-1. Instead, Vitale slowed everything down and forced a pass to Crosby sneaking into the slot. The puck hit off the heel of his stick, and then that was it.
 
– Pens had two power plays. One went really well; the other one fizzled. The first power play was a result of a dumb penalty by Martin Erat. Pens couldn't do anything. Malkin started to get pissed.
 
– With A.O. stranded on Martin Island, the rest of the Capitals looked lost. Brooks Laich sucks. If he has the same skill in changing tires, those women probably drove off a cliff that one time.
 

Turning Point

 
The Pens got a power play after a too-many-men. It was the end of the period and a huge moment. The Penguins wasted about a minute, and then they painted a masterpiece. It was tic-tac-toe. And it turned out the lights. 3-0.
 

Your Pic

The goal was so good, NBC should have canceled the Dallas Cowboys/JFK angle special and dispatched Bob Costas to figure out if Crosby's shot killed Kennedy instead. Did anyone even watch that thing? Who cares how the assassination affected the Dallas Cowboys? What a stupid premise.
 
– Backbreaking goal for the Caps to give up, by the way. Trailing 3-0 heading into the third, the Caps were facing 20 minutes of the Jacques Martin torture chamber in the third period.
 

THIRD PERIOD

 
We never try to oversell Crosby, and it’s not possible anyway, but right before the opening faceoff of the third, it was hard not to observe how focused he was. He was instructing teammates and then walked into the faceoff circle. He didn't just win the faceoff; he ate Nicklas Backstrom at center ice.
 
Note the difference between Crosby and A.O.:
 

 
– Shots were closest in the third, but still 8-4 Pens.
– Like we said, Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't spectacular in this game, but he was solid. He gave the Caps nothing.
– Did anyone else think to themselves, "James Neal hasn't scored in a while"? James Neal did. Because he did this:
 
Your Pic

4-0. Malkin started the whole play. Paul Martin got it Neal. Neal was motoring all game. He found time and space to shoot while Dupes rushed the net. Great job by that line.
 
The last 12 minutes were basically useless.
 

GAME.

 
 
– Pics: AP/Getty
 
 
 
 
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