Washington 7, Pittsburgh 1
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
Kyle Rehman, Graham Skilliter
Brandon Gawryletz, Brian Murphy
WASHINGTON -- Though the Washington Capitals offense was due for an outburst, the timing was still a surprise.
Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and three assists, linemate T.J. Oshie added two goals and two assists, and the Capitals routed the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 Wednesday night at Verizon Center.
Braden Holtby made 25 saves and Justin Williams, Dmitry Orlov and Alex Ovechkin also scored for Washington (10-4-2), which had lost three of its last four, including in overtime on Tuesday night.
"When everybody's pulling on the rope the same way, and has the same focus, it's pretty powerful," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "I just thought every line played the right way. Everybody was committed to just playing the right way."
Oshie has five goals in his last seven games, and Backstrom has three goals in his last two games. They both tied their career highs for points in a game. With his eighth goal of the season to close out the scoring, Ovechkin picked up his first point in five games.
"The goals were good, but I think the most important thing from this game is I think we did a great job outplaying them and putting pucks to certain areas," Oshie said. "Whether it was 2-1 or 7-1 I think that's a positive we're going to take out of it."
The well-rested Penguins, who hadn't played since Saturday, averted the shutout when Phil Kessel scored with 3:32 left.
"We were embarrassed out there tonight, all of us," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It's humbling when you go through it. My hope is that we learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Penguins starting goalie Matthew Murray stopped 12 of 14 shots before leaving the game late in the first period after getting hit in the face with a stick. Marc-Andre Fleury relieved Murray and made 20 saves.
Murray had won 11 straight regular season games going back to last season. He went through the concussion protocol, was cleared, and could have returned.
Pittsburgh (10-4-2) was whistled for nine minor penalties, and Washington scored a pair of power-play goals to go along with a short-handed tally that opened the scoring. The Capitals came in without a power-play goal over their last five games.
Washington had managed just five goals in its last four games, but erupted for three in the first 20 minutes.
Jay Beagle got them started when he broke in on Murray during a Penguins power play. Murray made the initial save, but Oshie scored on the rebound at 7:32.
"Our team as a group tonight, we weren't ready to play," Sullivan said. "And we can search for solutions tactically, but sometimes this game is more about will more than it is about skill."
Pittsburgh thought they had the equalizer at 15:30 after a scramble in front of Holtby, but a replay showed that Evgeni Malkin kicked the puck into the net and the goal was disallowed.
Just two minutes later, Backstrom made it 2-0 on a rush when he used a defenseman for a screen and fired a wrist shot past Murray.
"We were quick tonight. We got on their (defensemen)," Backstrom said.
The Pittsburgh goalie was in the wrong place at the wrong time late in the period. With 24 seconds left, Murray's mask was knocked off as Malkin and Washington's Karl Alzner began scuffling behind him. Malkin's stick then swung around and hit Murray in the face.
With Fleury in net and Washington on a power play, John Carlson's blast from the point trickled behind Fleury and Oshie poked it home with eight seconds left in the period for his second goal of the game and eighth of the season.
"The Backy line today was unstoppable." Ovechkin said.
It was the first time this season Washington scored three goals in the first period.
Orlov made it 4-0 when he beat Fleury at 5:19 of the second period for his first goal of the season.
"We gave up a short-handed goal early. Odd-man rush after odd-man rush," Pittsburgh's Kris Letang said. "We didn't play well collectively."
NOTES: Alex Ovechkin played only 14:12 in the Capitals' 2-1 overtime loss in Columbus on Tuesday night, his lowest ice time for a full game since 2005. ... After being healthy scratches Tuesday night, Capitals D Nate Schmidt and RW Brett Connolly were back in the lineup. D Taylor Chorney and F Daniel Winnik were scratched. ... Tom Barrasso holds the Penguins record for consecutive regular season wins by a goalie with 14 from March 9-April 9, 1993. ... Pittsburgh scratches included LW Scott Wilson, RW Tom Kuhnhackl and D Steven Olesky. Penguins D Derrick Pouliot (lower body) skated with the team Wednesday morning, but missed his 11th game. ... Washington kicked off a five-game homestand, their longest of the season.
Top Game Performances
Phil Kessel 1
Nicklas Backstrom 5
Phil Kessel 1
Nicklas Backstrom 2
Nick Bonino 1
Nicklas Backstrom 3
||Power Play Goals
T.J. Oshie 1
||Short Handed Goals
T.J. Oshie 1
Matt Murray .857
Braden Holtby .962
Marc-Andre Fleury 20
Braden Holtby 25
Team Stats Summary
||Face Offs Won
Washington will play their next game at home against Detroit. The Capitals have a W/L % of .600 after a win and .667 after a loss.
Pittsburgh will play their next game on the road against NY Islanders. The Penguins have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .833 after a loss.