The Washington Capitals hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and for all the noise, excitement, and skill on display on and off the ice, one would think it was the NHL playoffs already.
The Caps won 4-3 in the shootout on Mike Knuble’s fake-out during sudden death. Knuble was a surprise to see come off the bench, as he’s been 0-4 ever since the shootout started in 2005. “I couldn’t believe Bruce was doing it to me,” Knuble said when asked about Coach Bruce Boudreau’s choice. “I didn’t play in overtime at all, so I thought my night was over. I told him when I got off the ice, ‘I don’t like you when you do that. Don’t do that stuff to me.'”
Knuble had a solid night during regulation, tipping in the first goal of the game at the start of the second period. The Penguins’ Maxime Talbot evened-up a little over a minute later, and the Penguins entered the dreaded third period up 2-1. Before last night, the Caps have outscored the Pens 14-1 in the third over the last two years. Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr continued the Caps’ domination and seemed to have the game well in hand until Jordan Staal flipped in the tying goal at 16:54.
The win has given the Caps 108 points on the season, tying the franchise record they set last year. With nine games to go, it’s a sure thing to see that record fall. Especially when six of the last nine are at home – the Caps own the NHL’s best home record at 27-4-4. Next up is a road game versus division rival Carolina tonight at 7 pm, then back home on Sunday against the struggling Calgary Flames at 3 pm. Both games are carried on the Comcast Sports Network.
(Still riding that hockey high? Relive the excitement from last night’s game through my “photo log” on Flickr.)