PITTSBURGH (AP) - Scoring stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin were shut out in an unexpected defensive duel, with Pittsburgh checking line forward Ronald Petrovicky scoring the pivotal goal as the Penguins won their sixth in a row by beating the Washington Capitals 2-0 Saturday.
Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fleury turned aside 30 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and second in three games, following a 3-0 win over Florida on Tuesday. He has stopped all but four of 106 shots in his last three games.
Ovechkin's 13-game scoring streak for Washington, the NHL's longest this season, and Crosby's eight-game run ended in a game that featured excellent penalty-killing and goaltending but minimal scoring. Only two days before, both teams played in games that had a total of nine goals scored.
Crosby leads the NHL with 82 points and Ovechkin has a league-high 33 goals.
Petrovicky, injured or scratched for more than half of the Penguins' games this season, not only scored the most important goal but did so unassisted. Washington's Eric Fehr missed on a backhander halfway through the second period and Petrovicky picked up the puck in the corner and skated up the right wing boards.
Petrovicky hesitated momentarily at the top of the right circle and faked a pass, only to throw a wrist shot on the net that eluded Olaf Kolzig, who otherwise stopped 18 shots.
Penguins rookie Jordan Staal scored into an empty net with 38 seconds remaining, off Evgeni Malkin's pass, for his 17th goal.
Ovechkin had scored in every Capitals game this calendar year, getting eight goals and 12 assists in 13 games. He was last scoreless Dec. 30 against the Rangers. Crosby hadn't been shut out since Jan. 10 at Florida.
Washington lost its third in a row, fifth in six games and eighth in 10 games.
With a 26-17-8 record, the Penguins are the NHL's most improved club and, after going 8-0-1 in their last nine, are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They have 26 more points than they did last season when they were 12-29-10 at this point and already out of playoff contention.
An improved defence led by Fleury is a major reason why. The former No. 1 draft pick is 10-1-2 in his last 13 games and has 24 of the Penguins' 26 victories.
Despite giving up four goals in their 5-4 shootout decision Thursday over Montreal, the Penguins have allowed only 11 goals in six games. They killed off all four Washington power plays.
Fleury's best save may have come midway through the third, when Ovechkin's pass from the neutral zone created a short breakaway for Fehr, but Fleury challenged the shot and made the save.
Notes: Crosby took two shots. All three of Ovechkin's shots were in the third period. Ovechkin was on the ice for both Penguins goals. ... Pittsburgh's six-game winning streak is a season best. ... Penguins F Colby Armstrong sat out with a sprained knee. His hit on Montreal's Saku Koivu on Thursday night led to the retaliatory penalty taken by Sheldon Souray and a seven-minute power play that resulted in two Penguins goals. The teams meet again Sunday in Montreal. ... D Milan Jurcina, picked up in a trade with Boston on Thursday, started in his first game for Washington. ... Both teams are playing four games in six days. The Capitals are at home Sunday against the Islanders. ... Petrovicky didn't have a point all season until getting a goal and an assist in a 7-2 decision at Phoenix a week ago Saturday. He also had an assist Tuesday.