Sunday afternoon the Washington Capitals (41-12-6) – Pittsburgh Penguins (35-22-2) rivalry took another turn towards greatness in what was another instant classic as the Washington Capitals defeated the Penguins 5-4 in overtime.
The Capitals are now 2-0 against Pittsburgh this season.
It was another star studded effort from Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin as Crosby scored twice, while Ovechkin had 3 goals and an assist, leading the Capitals back from a three goal deficit.
Playing on short-day rest and bad weather that altered their travel plans, Pittsburgh jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 4-1 but couldn’t contain Ovechkin, Capitals offensive attack.
Pittsburgh was able to gain a valuable one point but it was a game that got away from them as concerns remain regarding their play defensively.
Pittsburgh’s gap control in the neutral zone was poor which led to Ovechkin’s second period breakaway goal and miscues in the D-zone continue for a team defensively that doesn’t rank in the top 20.
A top priority for Pittsburgh at the trade deadline is acquiring a second line winger and a stay at home defenseman. Due to the Penguins cap issues, their going to have to get very creative to obtain both.
Right now they are closer to acquiring a winger,
as the team has held significant discussions with the Columbus Blue Jackets regarding winger Raffi Torres. If Pittsburgh is able to clear cap space, which remains very much up in the air, they are expected to strike a deal for Torres before the February 12th roster freeze.
Their pursuit of adding a stay at home defenseman is up in the air. The team has checked in on Andrew Alberts and Aaron Ward but have not held any substantive talks of late. The team can’t bring on Ward’s salary.
Meanwhile, they weren’t willing to meet the Hurricanes demands for Niclas Wallin, who was traded to Carolina for a 2nd round pick.
One name I heard recently was Minnesota’s Shane Hnidy. Pittsburgh made an offer for Hnidy two summers ago when he was a free agent and were interested once again this past off-season.
As mentioned earlier in the week, Pittsburgh could make a play for Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis after the Olympic break.
More to come