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Disastrous 2nd dooms Washington: 3 reasons Caps lost originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
This one stings. The Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Tuesday in an ugly loss. It's not that it came against the rival Penguins or that it was Washington's second straight loss after opening the season with two wins. Tuesday's loss is a tough one because, based on how both teams were playing halfway through, this game should not have been close let alone a loss.
Here is why the Caps lost.
Vanecek fumbles the puck
Washington dominated the first period to a ridiculous degree. There was just one low point when Vitek Vanecek stopped a shot by Kasperi Kapanen up high and tried to squeeze it to his chest. He lost the puck which dropped to the ice where two Penguins were able to get to it. The goal has officially been credit to Colton Sceviour, but it may have been Teddy Blueger who to it. Regardless, it was a goal for Pittsburgh which tied the game at 1. Overall, Vanecek had another good game, but this is one he will probably want back.
Washington would tally twice more in the first, however, so no problem, right?
Not so much.
The second period
Originally, I was going to break down everything that went wrong in the second period, but ultimately there were just too many things to mention.
A game that the Caps looked to have well in hand suddenly turned into a tie game because of a disastrous middle frame. How do you let a dominant game slip away? Well, Washington gave up three goals, failed to score on a 3-on-0 and gave up a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal. That'll do it.
Let's try to break it all down.
It looked like things were about to go from bad to worse for Pittsburgh when John Marino got too aggressive at the offensive blue line and tried to intercept a breakout pass. He missed and it was off to the for the Caps' entire fourth line. DeSmith, however, stoned Carl Hagelin on the shot. Not only was it a missed opportunity, however, as soon after Dmitry Orlov and Lars Eller both took penalties leading to a 5-on-3 power play that Jake Guentzel would cash-in.
Washington got a 5-on-3 power play of its own, but DeSmith cleared the puck up the middle of the ice where Blueger was in behind the defense and he scored the shorthanded goal.
Late in the period, T.J. Oshie took an ill-advised interference penalty on Marcus Pettersson as he delivered a brutal hit late in the neutral zone. The penalty was originally called a major, but it was reviewed and reduced to a minor. That and a goal by Kuznetsov were the lone highlights for Washington from the period. Regardless, Evgeni Malkin would score on the resulting power play for his first point of the season.
Caps can't get possession
Head coach Peter Laviolette noted the overtime faceoffs on Sunday and how the Caps could not get possession of the puck in overtime. That was the case again on Tuesday as Pittsburgh won both overtime faceoffs eventually leading to Sidney Crosby potting home the rebound for the game-winner.