The Pens completed a back-to-back sweep of division rivals Philadelphia, 4-1, on Saturday, and Washington, 6-2, on Sunday, to jump into second place in the Metro Division.
And in each victory, Pens defenseman Trevor Daley shined with a highlight-reel goal.
“I got two great passes,” Daley said. “The other night was a great pass from (Nick Bonino) and (Sidney Crosby) gave me a great pass tonight. When you get guys who are going to find you when you get open, I just tried to get open and closed my eyes and shot.”
Daley’s first came against the Flyers. Bonino and Carl Hagelin battled for the puck in the corner, Daley crept down the slot into the perfect position for Bonino to hit him with a backdoor pass.
By the time Daley got control of the puck Flyers goaltender Steve Mason already had the opportunity to come out and challenge him, but Daley found a way to lift the puck over his glove and into the top shelf.
Against the Capitals, Daley’s goal was almost an exact replay of the night before, except this time he made it even more impressive by scoring from his backhand.
Patric Hornqvist took a hit at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone, and Crosby picked up the loose puck. Crosby chipped a pass to Daley as he drove to the net. Daley had to play the puck off of his skate, so again, he was practically right on top of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby by the time he settled it. Daley shot the puck off his backhand over the glove of Holtby from an impossible angle.
But more importantly, the Pens proved they can play with anybody in the NHL.
“They’re (the Capitals), the best team in hockey right now,” Daley said. “They clinched a spot. They have over 100 points. There’s no secret about that team. That team’s a great hockey team. For us going into the game, it’s a measuring stick. We’re coming off of a back-to-back. It’s a tough game for us to go into, and I thought we responded pretty well.”
Daley also picked up two assists against Washington to give him a three-point night.
This is the second time this season that Daley has scored back-to-back goals. He tallied a goal on Jan. 15 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning and again on Jan. 17 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. Daley has 24 points (6G-18A) on the season, making him the second-highest scoring defensemen on the team.
“He’s really a treat to watch when he’s flying around,” Ian Cole said. “He’s making moves and then juking guys out at the blue line. Then obviously finishing the way he has the past two nights putting them up top shelf both times forehand and backhand, it’s a real treat to watch. He’s a fantastic player, and I think we’re seeing him really playing a fantastic game heading into playoffs.”