Washington Capitals: Dreadful Start to Season Continues After 5-2 Loss to Pens

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIIFebruary 7, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 7:  Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his second period goal against the Washington Capitals during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 7, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Another game, another loss for the Washington Capitals. The miserable start to the 2013 season continued on Thursday night as the Caps fell 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in four days.

Pittsburgh was victorious 6-3 in D.C. on Super Bowl Sunday.

The loss marked the third straight for Washington and its eighth overall, not the way this team planned on starting the shortened season.

Things began positively in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Mike Ribeiro continued to be a bright spot for Washington by scoring his fourth goal of the year just four minutes into the contest. The goal was assisted by Alexander Ovechkin and Tomas Kundratek. The Capitals played a solid first period, taking a 1-0 lead into the first break.

Pittsburgh came out hitting on all cylinders in the second period, scoring five goals and chasing starting goalie Michal Neuvirth to the bench in the process. The Penguins were helped by three power-play opportunities, connecting on all of them with goals by Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Sidney Crosby.

Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke added even-strength goals in the period to help cushion the Pittsburgh lead.

After starting strong, Washington feel victim to a poor second period and once again found itself trailing heading into the final period. Ovechkin did add a power-play goal assisted by Ribeiro and Mike Green in the third period, but it was too little too late.

Ribeiro led Washington on offense, registering a goal and an assist and bringing his team-leading point total to 13 for the season. Ovechkin has his first multi-point game of the 2013 campaign with a goal and an assist.

The Capitals fell to 2-8-1 on the season and need to turn things around quickly if they hope to make the playoffs. They will look to rebound on Saturday night when the Florida Panthers visit Verizon Center.