Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
Defenseman Brooks Orpik ended Tuesday in the trainer's room after the Penguins dispatched the Washington Capitals, 2-0, at Consol Energy Center.
The Capitals' biggest star might have been feeling even worse.
Orpik, a free agent at season's end, manhandled Alex Ovechkin for a second consecutive night. In classic Orpik fashion, he shut down Ovechkin with a physical approach.
His teammates noticed.
“I thought Brooks was excellent tonight,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “Ovechkin is a tremendous player, and it's not easy being physical against him. But Brooks was great. He really was. He hit him every chance he got. He did a tremendous job of minimizing his impact on the game.”
Ovechkin, who leads the NHL in goals and shots on goal, did not register a shot on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during the game's first 50 minutes.
In fact, Ovechkin has been silent against the Penguins all season. Orpik mostly played against Ovechkin in all four matchups this regular season. Ovechkin finished with one goal and no assists, while his team stumbled to an 0-4 record.
“Playing against Ovechkin is not easy,” said rookie defenseman Olli Maatta, Orpik's defense partner the past week. “Brooks did an unbelievable job the past two nights.”
Orpik was credited with seven hits Tuesday and three Monday in Washington. Coach Dan Bylsma said Orpik was more physical Monday.
“He stepped into No. 8 a lot,” Bylsma and. “And he was hard with him.”
The Penguins played well defensively for a second straight game. This one was different, though. During the game in Washington, the Penguins rarely had the puck but scored on the rush and held defensively.
On Tuesday, the Penguins almost exclusively had the puck through the first two periods.
And on the occasion when Ovechkin seemed to have a glimpse at registering a shot, Orpik was there to deny him.
During the past two games, Orpik blocked five shots, two coming against Ovechkin in Tuesday's third period.
“You kind of know coming into a game against Ovi that he's going to get some chances,” left wing Tanner Glass said. “But Brooks hardly gave him anything. His gap (control) was outstanding, and he hit him all night. Brooks was great.”
The Penguins received goals from forwards Sidney Crosby and Jussi Jokinen. Crosby recorded points in all four games against the Capitals this season, finishing with seven.
Fleury, meanwhile, earned his 28th career shutout and fifth of the season, which ties a career high. His biggest moment came in the second period when he made an acrobatic save with his right skate on rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Even Fleury, though, was talking about Orpik.
“I'm lucky to have Brooks,” he said.
Orpik, who has battled injuries during the past few seasons and is playing without regular partner Paul Martin, hasn't always been at his best this season. But with the playoffs five weeks away, he showed his teammates that, come springtime, he'll be ready.
“This is the kind of game we need to play in the playoffs,” Glass said. “And Brooks is the kind of guy who will lead us.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Sony hack signals new, public front in cyber warfare
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- IBM’s Watson supercomputing system to be applied to PTSD
- Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers
- No. 22 WVU tops N.C. State for 3rd straight win
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Butler County initiative aims to find employment for struggling job-seekers
- Harrison fire victim helps others while on road to recovery
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Harmar-based company’s expansion into Tarentum adds jobs