Penguins Add to Their Sensational Win Streak, Defeating Washington Capitals 4-1 | 4/4/2024

Photo via Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh extended their win streak to three straight games after they’ve been having a jumble of wins and losses. The Penguins are two points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Thursday, April 4th at the Capital One Arena. Alex Nedeljkovic made a total of 30 saves for Pittsburgh, including 16 in the third, in their win, and has started in seven consecutive games. Scoring the lone goal for the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin recorded his 27th goal of the season to avoid a possible shutout. Charlie Lindgren made 20 saves for Washington.

Penguins lineup against the Capitals:

O’Connor – Crosby – Rust

Bunting – Malkin – Rakell

Smith – Eller – Bemstrom

Puljujarvi – Carter – Puustinen

Joseph – Letang

Pettersson – Karlsson

Shea – St. Ivany

Nedeljkovic

Jarry

Capitals lineup against the Penguins:

Ovechkin – McMichael – Wilson

Protas – Strome – Miroshnichenko

Pacioretty – Lapierre – Milano

Malenstyn – Dowd – Sgarbossa

Fehervary – Carlson

Sandin – Jensen

Alexeyev – van Riemsdyk

Lindgren

Kuemper

   Ryan Shea struck his first NHL career goal to put Pittsburgh in the lead early at 18:11. He scored through a screen with a wrist shot from the left point. With 9:57 remaining in the first, P.O Joseph scored his second goal of the season to make it a 2-0 lead for the Penguins. Joseph fired a slap shot from the point that ended up deflecting off the right skate of Nick Jensen and past Charlie Lindgren.

   At 10:52 of the middle frame, Michael Bunting extended the lead to 3-0 when he sent a slap shot to the far side, coming from the top of the left circle. He received a pass from Valtteri Puustinen on the rush prior to his 17th goal of the season, as well as his fourth with Pittsburgh.

   Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within 3-1 in the third, scoring off Sonny Milano’s cross-crease pass at the left post to record his 27th goal of the season as a Capitals power play expired. It had also been his second point in the past five games (one goal, one assist). With 2:37 left on the clock, Lars Eller sent it home with an empty-netter for not only the 4-1 final but also his 400th NHL career point.

Ryan Shea on his first goal and the Penguins’ 4-1 victory: “Obviously this year has been a lot of ups and downs. I think the first half of my games were pretty good, playing fearless. I wasn’t being consistent enough. There are two ways to look at it; I could go down, be mopey, and kind of turn the page, or I can go down and actually give myself a little kick in the butt and hopefully get a chance, and they’re giving me one right now. So, I told myself I wasn’t going to let this one slip,” – “It was great – I honestly didn’t know right off the bat because it hit a shin pad and I didn’t know if it was Lars’… Once Lars pointed at me, I was like alright, that’s definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders. So, it was nice for sure.”

Lars Eller on the win, teamwork, and Alex Nedeljkovic: “We still have belief and confidence in each other. Just take one game at a time and keep trying to stay alive, no quit in this group. We have bad games once in a while, but there’s no quitting,” – “I think that was crucial, at least to kill the first penalty and then they got one at the very end there. I think we did extremely well and then everybody was committed. ‘Ned’ played amazing, he’s been so good for us here all season. It was really a team effort… we got big kills, we got goals, timely goals, and it was great.”

Notes:

– Lars Eller had a goal and an assist… He has a total of 400 NHL career points in 1,030 games (178 goals, 222 assists).

– This had been the 69th time Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin met in the regular season. Crosby has 90 points (31 goals, 59 assists), and Ovechkin has 67 points (37 goals, 30 assists)… The Penguins are 4-0-1 in their previous five games in Washington.

  Crosby’s 15-game point streak came to an end at six games (six goals, nine assists)

– Alex Ovechkin scored eight goals in his first 43 games this season and has scored 19 in his past 29 games. His goal marked his 849th, which moved him within 45 of Wayne Gretzky for the NHL record.

– The Washington Capitals have fallen behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card, and are trailing by one point.

– In 20:08 of ice time in his return after serving a six-game suspension for a high-stick on Noah Gregor on the 20th of March – Tom Wilson had been minus-2.

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Genevive Oliver

I'm a 17-year-old writer and a beginner photographer! I'm a huge hockey, baseball, boxing, and basketball fan.

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