It was rivalry night on NBC, but this one was all Pittsburgh, as the Penguins downed the Caps 4-0 in Washington D.C.
Sidney Crosby was at the forefront of the pre-game discussion, and he didn’t disappoint. he and teammate Evgeni Malkin put on a clinic that no one on the Capitals had an answer for.
The first period has a lightning-quick pace, but was all Penguins early. A couple huge penalty kills helped keep the Penguins alive the first half of the period while Marc-Andre Fleury made some huge saves to keep the puck out. They also outshot them 17-6 in the first period of play.
A screened Paul Martin shot snuck through to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead and the momentum towards the middle of the period. Shortly thereafter, Beau Bennett took advantage of a beautiful feed from Evgeni Malkin and rifled home his first of the year to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Malkin and Crosby were hot, each registering assists. Late in the period, Malkin went down on a 3 on 1, but decided to pass the puck instead of taking a shot in close, a decision that had most fans scratching their heads.
The second period had a smiler feel, with both teams trading chances and offensive rushes. Sidney Crosby was stonewalled by both Braden Holtby and the goal post throughout the period, however he would not be denied, finishing a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal to bury his 11th goal of the season and give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
The Penguins managed to close it out in the fourth, getting an insurance goal from James Neal on another great feed from Malkin. From top to bottom, the Penguins dominated and skated the Capitals right out of their own rink.
3. Sidney Crosby: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1, 5 shots
2. Marc-Andre Fleury: 17 Saves, 2nd shutout of the season
1. Evgeni Malkin: 2 Assists, +2, 3 Shots