NHLN Playoff Notebook: Shots don’t matter, goals matter

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 2:32 am by Adam Laskaris

One game in the NHL on a given night is kind of a mixed bag of emotions. It’s nice to be able to focus just on one game, without having to channel flip or worry you’re watching the wrong one. When it’s finished, there’s no overtimes to catch, no debates if you should stay up late, or anything of that nature.

On the other hand, when there’s only one game of NHL hockey, it leads to weird scheduling trends, as there’s three lined up for tomorrow, then just Washington-Pittsburgh again Wednesday. There’s probably a good reason why, but it’s 

With that being said, here’s what went down last night:

Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Washington Capitals 2

One team deserved the win in this game based on their offensive pressure. It was not the Pittsburgh Penguins. I mean, take a look at this and try to explain this game:

Screenshot 2016-05-03 at 12.41.05 AM

Or this:

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Or even, this:

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It gets even stranger when you consider that it was Braden Holtby on the losing end of this one, usually one of the best goalies in the league. Up against no easy task was Matt Murray, the 21-year old sensation, who made 47 saves in the win. Not much in hockey surprises me anymore and every dog can have its day, but it’s not often a team as solid as the Capitals fires up 49 shots… and still finds themselves down 3-0 in the third period.

The actual goals themselves matter, of course, but in the context of this game, it was a trio of chippy goals from the Penguins that got the job done.

Then there was a cheeky tip-in by Patric Hornqvist:

Another ugly bounce that ended up in the net here:

And lastly on the Pens end midway through the second, there was uh, whatever this was:

Who else but Ovechkin to start the comeback?

Justin Williams potted a rebound in with 56 seconds to go, but we’ve maxed out at three garbage goal GIFs per post here.

And keep your eye out for Kris Letang. Or don’t, as he might be gone in the form of a suspension for this hit:

There were other chippy moments on both sides, but that was the most notable one of the night.

The Penguins did obviously eventually hold onto their lead, though Washington didn’t go down without a fight. Credit goes to them for, uh, getting bailed out by their goalie, I guess. Pittsburgh had just three positive possession players on the night.

It’s rare you get a game with five even-strength goals and none on the power play, but the two teams went a combined 0-for-7 on the night.

Up next:

First one, now three?

Lightning vs. Islanders at 7:00.

Sharks vs. Predators at 9:00.

Dallas vs. St Louis at 9:30.

All times Eastern. Get ready for a fun night, ladies and gentlemen.