The Penguins and Capitals were involved in a modern classic on Monday night, combining for 15 goals, including nine in the second period, in a game that had just about everything.
Washington rolled into Pittsburgh on Monday night riding a nine-game win streak, but the Capitals’ run of dominant play was snapped in incredible fashion with the Penguins picking up an 8-7 overtime victory in a game that will likely go down as one of the more fun contests of the season.
The game had just about everything a fan could ask for. There were comebacks, a goalie change, a hat trick, a nine-goal (!) second period, tallies coming at 4-on-4, 5-on-5, on the power play and shorthanded, reviewed tallies and, from where Capitals fans are sitting, there were even a few missed calls. The game had it all, save a shootout to decide the winner. No one captured that as succinctly as Washington’s Justin Williams, who had a goal in the game.
"All around, it was like a 1988 Smythe Division game out there, I think,” Williams said post-game.
That’s a fairly accurate assessment of the outing, too, because during the high-scoring 1980s, there were more than 130 games where both teams scored at least seven goals.
If you missed the action, check out all 15 goals and a recap of the game:
The game was highlighted by Evgeni Malkin’s hat trick, which was the 11th of his career and puts him into second all-time among Penguins players. Malkin has no chance when it comes to taking over top spot, though. That record is held by Mario Lemieux, who scored 40 hat tricks — not a typo — with Pittsburgh. All of Malkin’s goals came in the second period across a span of 10:51, and the second frame featured five goals — three for Pittsburgh, two for Washington — in 3:32.
The Penguins rode Matt Murray for the entire outing, but he finished with an ugly 21 saves on 28 shots, good for a .750 save percentage. The Capitals, however, switched it up in goal after Braden Holtby allowed five goals in little more than eight minutes in the second. He finished his night with a .808 SP, which was the best mark of any goaltender to suit up Monday. Philipp Grubauer stopped eight of the 11 shots he faced for a .727 SP.
The eventual game winner came from Conor Sheary, and it was his first career regular season overtime-winning goal. It should be a familiar feeling for Sheary, though, considering he has two post-season OT goals, including one against the Capitals in the second round of the past playoffs.
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