In a rivalry game, it's the Pittsburgh Penguins who are setting the tone.
The Penguins did not waste time as they took a 1-0 lead when Neal's one-timer beat Tomas Vokoun just 2:27 into the game. Evgeni Malkin, who was a game-time decision entering Thursday's contest, carried the puck into the offensive zone along the right side. Malkin dropped the puck behind him to Steve Sullivan, who was able to get a cross-ice feed to an open Neal. Vokoun was slow to shift from his right to his left and Neal's shot got past him. It was Neal's third goal of the season.
Pittsburgh has dominated puck possession in the first period and holds a 12-3 shot advantage over Washington. If there is one positive for the Caps to take into the intermission, it's that they've killed off two penalties.