Story highlights: The Washington Capitals took apart the Pittsburgh Penguins in Alex Ovechkin’s 1,000th NHL Game to clinch a third-straight Metropolitan Division title.
By Bill Sands
On Easter Sunday, the Washington Capitals went into Pittsburgh for their biggest game of the year so far. Not only was it Alex Ovechkin’s 1,000th NHL game, but the team had the chance to clinch the Metropolitan Division title for the third consecutive year, and on their most hated rival’s home ice to boot.
Capitals Control Penguins
In need of a team effort, the Caps came to play and controlled play from start to finish in a 3-1 victory that was not as close as the scoreboard indicated. Washington jumped on the Penguins early and built a comfortable two-goal lead thanks to markers from T.J. Oshie and Dmitri Orlov. Oshie started things off after taking a nice feed from Andre Burakovsky and burying a low shot between Matt Murray’s legs.
Washington took the 1-0 lead into the second period and built on it when Orlov snagged a puck in the defensive zone and carried it himself through the middle of the ice. With no one challenging him, Orlov made his way into the slot and ripped a wrist shot over Murray to double the lead.
A constant theme for this Caps team has been an inability to finish games. Carrying the “most dangerous lead in hockey” into the third, the Caps responded beautifully with a Tom Wilson goal just 23 seconds into the period.
Pens Suffocated By Caps’ Defense
Up 3-0, the Capitals switched a defensive posture and suffocated the Penguins. Pittsburgh repeatedly tried to break into the Washington zone but was repelled time and time again by an organized and rigid structure. Pittsburgh managed to get a late goal to ruin Philipp Grubauer’s shutout, but the outcome of the game was already decided by that point.
It was another outstanding night for Grubauer, who made 36 saves, including several huge stops on Sidney Crosby when the game was still close.
Caps: Metropolitan Division Champions Again
Another season is almost in the books, and the Washington Capitals are once again the Metropolitan Division champions. The real prize will hopefully come later, but for now Caps fans should take a moment to savor the feeling of clinching the title on the road in Pittsburgh in Ovechkin’s 1,000th game.