Laich and Orlov’s Return Spoiled by Penguins

Posted March 19, 2013

Brooks Laich, spring of 2012 (Photo Credit: M. Richter)

Both Pittsburgh Penguins fans inside the Consol Energy Center and Washington Capitals fans sitting on their couches could see the momentum swing that was about to take place as a four-minute power play for the Caps expired.

As Matt Cooke left the penalty box after serving two consecutive penalties, fans of both teams saw the goal that was about to happen just a matter of seconds later, as Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Miskanen beat goaltender Braden Holtby on an assist by Cooke.

Washington was never able to recover from the momentum swing that took place after Miskanen’s goal, and the Caps fell to their rivals, 2-1.

For the first two periods of the game, the Capitals were playing a very conservative road game, as the first period ended scoreless, and the two teams ended the second period tied at one. Alex Ovechkin started out the game well for Washington, scoring the team’s only goal of the game in the second period on a power play.

Paul Martin tied the game up for the Penguins three minutes later on a power play, as left winger Jason Chimera served a two-minute penalty for hooking.

It looked as though the Capitals were going to take the lead in the third period, when Cooke was sent to the sin bin for boarding against Ovechkin, and unsportsmanlike conduct just a few seconds later. After the Caps put several shots during the power play on Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins successfully killed the four-minute penalty.

As soon as the power play expired, Cooke stormed on the ice, and the Capitals were eventually beaten on a 3-on-2 break.

Caps’ fans had high hopes heading into the game, knowing that center Brooks Laich would be starting his first game of the year, and that defenseman Dmitry Orlov would be starting his first NHL game since April 7, 2012.

However, neither player did much to help the Capitals. Laich only spent 12 minutes and 51 seconds on the ice, and only had one shot on goal. Orlov spent just under 12 minutes on the ice, and finished with one block shot and one hit.

Washington was saved by the Florida Panthers, who beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 Tuesday night, keeping the Caps only seven points out of first place in the division.

The Caps will have a chance to gain more ground in the division on Thursday and Friday when they face the Winnipeg Jets in back-to-back nights.