Capitals punishment: Penguins decimated in D.C.

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The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins frequently provided hockey fans with thrilling, back-and-forth games. This wasn’t one of those classics.

The first period was a full-fledged disaster for the Penguins, especially for Matt Murray, who was struck by Evgeni Malkin‘s errant stick. Marc-Andre Fleury couldn’t really stop the bleeding either on Wednesday, with Washington eventually winning 7-1.

More about that unfortunate Malkin high-sticking of Murray here.

T.J. Oshie (two goals, two assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (two goals, three assists) stole the show from Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin isn’t sweating it too much, though, as he broke a rare scoring slump with a nice goal in the final frame.

Opposite directions

The Capitals had been stumbling ever-so-slightly lately, only managing one win in their previous four games (1-2-1). This is exactly how they wanted to begin a five-game homestand.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins came into this on quite a roll, winning three of four and generating a standings point in all but one of their last nine contests (7-1-1). To continue the opposite trends, this loss begins a road-heavy stretch for Pittsburgh.

That run would be that much more daunting if Murray is once again injured, and Malkin’s involvement would add insult to that injury. We’ll have to keep an eye out for updates on that front.

One thing that wasn’t in doubt for very long was this game. The two teams won’t meet again until a Jan. 11 date in Pittsburgh.

Odds are high that it will be a more competitive match than Wednesday’s lopsided affair. (Not that the Capitals are complaining.)