RECAP: Tom Wilson leads third-period flurry, Caps down Penguins

By Field Level Media
Feb 25, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) m makes a save on Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) in the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Wilson’s goal broke a 2-all tie and the Capitals tallied four goals in the third period to give Washington a 5-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Washington never trailed as the Capitals surged ahead when Wilson scored with 7:20 remaining. The Capitals added two empty-net goals. Pittsburgh had won four of the first five meetings between the teams this season.

The Capitals have had issues finding the net in the first period in recent games but Nicklas Backstrom redirected a Nick Jensen pass into the net with 8:40 left. Backstrom has points in all but four games this season.

Two big saves from goalie Vitek Vanecek (26 saves) in the final 15 seconds helped Washington keep the lead. Both teams found plenty of scoring chances but Washington held a 12-11 edge in shots after being outshot 37-22 in a loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

The Caps kept the offensive pressure on, including many scoring chances in the second period. They had several close-range shots but couldn’t beat goalie Tristan Jarry, and the game remained 1-0 after two.

Washington had other clean looks early in the third period. The Caps broke through when T.J. Oshie made a quick move and poked a one-handed shot past Jarry for a 2-0 lead 3:18 into the frame.

That lead didn’t last long.

Washington went on the power play and 64 seconds later, Brandon Tanev cut the lead in half with a shorthanded Pittsburgh goal. Three minutes after that, Jake Guentzel made a strong individual effort from the corner with a sliding shot past Vanecek.

Wilson would give the Caps the lead they never lost. He redirected a John Carlson shot past Jarry for a power-play goal.

The Caps got a break on that extra-man situation as Kris Letang of Pittsburgh broke his stick, opening the ice for Washington.

Carl Hagelin and Lars Eller added the empty-net goals. Hagelin was helped when Letang’s stick broke once again.

–Field Level Media