Chris Kunitz scored twice and Sidney Crosby had a three point night with a goal, two assists, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals Monday night in the first game of a home and home series.
Pittsburgh was outshot 33-20 in the game, including 23-16 at even strength and got strong goaltending from backup Jeff Zatkoff who made 31 stops to earn his 10th victory of the season. Zatkoff improving to 10-3-1 on the season, is now 7-2-1 on the road.
Zatkoff was especially strong in the second period when Pittsburgh was outshot 17-6 in the period.
The Penguins capped off a five game road trip going 3-2 with wins against two non playoff teams right now in Nashville, Washington and beating the NHL leading Ducks. Statistically getting six out of a possible 10 points is a strong showing, though, the narrative would be different if the Penguins failed to win in Anaheim Saturday night after being badly outplayed, in addition to poor outings against Chicago and San Jose on the trip. The Penguins move ahead of the Bruins in the standings by one point and are right back at it tonight hosting the Capitals at Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh has won seven straight vs the Capitals and the Capitals just don’t know to win close games against Pittsburgh.
HERE WERE THREE KEY TAKEAWAY’S FROM THE PENGUINS 3-2 WIN MONDAY NIGHT
— Holding a one goal lead, the Penguins locked down defensively in the third period giving up just four even strength shots in the period and killed off a too many men penalty in the closing minutes.
— Brooks Orpik had his share of poor games since the new year but last night wasn’t one of them. Orpik played extremely physical on Alexander Ovechkin.
Chris Kunitz scored goals 30, 31 on the season and Sidney Crosby scored his 30th goal of the season, marking the first time he’s hit the 30 goal mark since 2010-2011 due to injuries. Lee Stempniak had two assists in the game and the Kunitz – Crosby – Stempniak line drew high praise from head coach Dan Bylsma last night. “It was a very good game in all aspects,” Bylsma of the Penguins first line of Kunitz, Crosby and Lee Stempniak. “I thought 5-on-5 play we saw the speed they generated and got the scoring chances, used them in the [defensive] zone and did a great job there. They were exceptional.”