Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breaking down the madness of that Penguins/Capitals game

Well, that game certainly took a turn.

Last night’s showdown between the Penguins and Capitals already felt like a big deal going in. The two teams are very good, and Washington’s nine-game win streak had moved them past Pittsburgh and into first place overall. It was also a matchup between longtime rivals, not to mention a rematch of last year’s division final. What more could you want?

Well, how about 15 goals?

After a fairly ordinary first period that saw the Caps take a 2–0 lead into intermission, the two teams held down the turbo buttons for pretty much the entire second period, erupting for nine goals. They added three more in the third to send the game to overtime, where Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary ended it just 34 seconds in.

That's a lot to take in. So let's break it down, with a look at 10 of the more interesting facts from an interesting game.

1. The Capitals pulled off a rare feat in recent NHL history

Washington became just the third team in the last two decades to score seven goals and lose.

That actually used to be a relatively common occurrence. During the high-flying ’80s, it happened 49 times, including three games in which the losing team scored nine times. (No NHL team has ever reached the 10-goal mark and still taken the loss.)

Seven-goal losses continued to be reasonably common through the early ’90s, right up until the arrival of the Dead Puck Era, when a 10–8 loss by the Penguins to the Sharks in 1996 marked the last time it would happen for well over a decade.

That streak came to an end in 2010, when Philadelphia dropped an 8–7 decision to Tampa Bay. And those same Flyers were back at it a year later, losing a memorable 9–8 shootout to the Jets.

(You may remember that game as the one that inspired Ilya Bryzgalov's immortal "I am lost in the woods" soliloquy.)

2. Matt Murray had a weird night

The good news is that Murray picked up the win. The bad news is that he gave up seven goals while doing it.

That makes him the first goaltender to give up that many in a win since Ondrej Pavelec, who surrendered seven in that Jets win over the Flyers. But Pavelec at least got a short break in that game, making way for Chris Mason to come in and give up one of the Flyer goals.

To find the last goaltender who played an entire game and won despite giving up seven goals, you have to go all the way back to 1994 and a game involving, who else, the Flyers. On Feb. 21, they beat the Canadiens 8–7 behind the goaltending of Dominic Roussel.

The funny thing about that game is that Roussel almost didn't make it to the end, because he nearly got ejected. After the Flyers' sixth goal, Montreal starter Patrick Roy decided to take a swing at Eric Lindros. That turned out to be a very bad idea, especially for Roy's unfortunate teammate, Eric Desjardins. Roussel skated the length of the ice to even the odds, but for one of the only times in Roy's career, cooler heads prevailed and the goalie fight didn't happen.

>> Read the full post at Sportsnet


  1. It was a wonderful game last night.Had a great time watching it.The match was really intriguing and tough.

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