The Washington Capitals could not complete the regular season sweep of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, as these two clubs finished their season series on Wednesday.
After losing the three previous meetings with the Capitals this season, the Penguins finally prevailed, holding on for a 4-3 victory to move three points up on Washington in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Washington remains in the top Wild Card spot of the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh, which acquired Daniel Winnik earlier in the day, is now only three back of the New York Islanders for the top spot in the division.
Given the time of year, and the history between these two clubs, it’s not surprising that tempers reached a boiling point in the first period. A heated melee broke out between the two teams with a fight occurring inside the Pittsburgh bench.
Both teams went one-for-six on the power play. With his Capitals behind a pair of goals late in the third period, Alex Ovechkin blasted home a one-time slap shot — typical Ovechkin — to narrow Pittsburgh’s lead.
But Ovechkin’s league-leading 39th goal of the season wasn’t enough.
Chris Kunitz scored what would be the winning goal before the midway point of the third period.
Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi blocked a shot earlier in the game and appeared in discomfort afterwards. He did not play the final 12 minutes of the third period, according to the Time On Ice report.