With their second straight win and third in four games, the Penguins (14-8-0, 28 points) moved three points up on the Capitals (12-9-1, 25 points) for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Wednesday’s game at Verizon Center wasn’t close, with Pittsburgh outshooting Washington 40-18 for the game.
The scoring opened up in the first period very nicely for the Penguins. Paul Martin had a interesting goal that no one expected to go in as it slid past Caps goalie Braden Holtby because he did not really see it. Beau Bennett got the second goal when he came into the attacking zone and wristed a shot to the stick side of Holtby. Pittsburgh looked very alive in the 1st period while the Capitals just looked completely out of it as the Penguins had a 17-6 advantage in shots.
In the second period, things got very interesting. Each team traded scoring chances, begging each other to score. Fleury made some outstanding saves for the Penguins to preserve their lead and scoring chances went on for about four to five minutes straight at one point.
Eventually the Penguins would get a power play at the end of the period and scored after some sick passing. Evgeni Malkin passed to James Neal then to Chris Kunitz and then Sidney Crosby finished it off with a gorgeous snap shot that looked impossible to make, but only he could make it. The Penguins would lead the Capitals 3-0 at the end of two periods.
When the third period came around, the Capitals still looked half asleep. Neal had a nice goal when he came into the attacking zone and just wristed it past Holtby for his second goal of the season to make it 4-0 for the Penguins and pretty much clinched the game. The rest of the period would be scoreless.
Crosby, Martin and Neal had a goal and an assist each, while Malkin had two assists. Seven Penguins had at least one point as Pittsburgh beat Washington for the fourth straight time.
Pittsburgh heads home on Friday to face the Islanders before they hit the road to head to Montreal and Boston.