Capitals 3 – Penguins 1

The Washington Capitals are Metropolitan Division Champions for the third straight season in defeating the Penguins 3-1 on Sunday night at the PPG Paints Arena.

As the Capitals are locked into the playing the first wildcard in Round 1, Pittsburgh with two games remaining can mathematically still finish anywhere from 2nd-3rd place in the Metropolitan Division to the top wildcard spot or the second wildcard spot.

Off great goaltending from Philipp Grubauer, the Capitals won the momentum swings tonight as they were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill and very opportunistic offensively.

Tom Wilson scored a beautiful goal off a deflection 23 seconds into the third that iced this one to put the Capitals ahead 3-0.

For the Capitals, this was just one of those complete game type performances where they rose to the occasion in a number of areas to come out of Pittsburgh with the win.

Post-Game Buzz

— Washington controlled the play at even-strength in being +8 in scoring chances, 55% in possession and out-scoring Pittsburgh 3-1.

From the Penguins end, though, they didn’t play a bad game by any means. The Capitals just made more plays at critical moments to get the ‘W’. The Penguins might have went 0-5 on the power play but they had some great looks they just couldn’t get by Grubauer.

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— One of Matt Hunwick’s biggest issues this season as a Penguin has been the inability to stay in his proper lanes with his gap control.

While Malkin lost his man in the neutral zone, the T.J. Oshie first period goal saw Hunwick badly out of position and almost on top of Jamie Oleksiak who is the right D that led to the Penguins having no line of defense

. If Hunwick’s six feet to the left where he should be, he easily gets to Oshie to breakup the shot or force a contested shot.

The Dmitry Orlov goal against was another frustrating goal for the Penguins to give up defensively where Olli Maatta is too passive in a situation he had support to step up with two backcheckers.


Evgeni Malkin’s thoughts on the Capitals winning the division again:

“We [Pittsburgh Penguins] never win the division…..It’s not a surprise.”

Malkin did say the obvious in the Penguins wanting home-ice in Round 1, “we play better at home,” said Malkin.

Patric Hornqvist scored his 27th goal of the season in the loss and what a season he’s put together. He was force as always in the net-front area.

— This was an opponent where the Penguins missed Derick Brassard, especially with Phil Kessel clearly not healthy as evident tonight. Kessel to his credit is someone who doesn’t miss a day of work so it was no surprise to see him play through an injury tonight.[/hide]