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Penguins looking ahead after wild win vs. Capitals

8-7 overtime victory fun for forwards, not for goalies, defensemen

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were a few minutes late to their practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Tuesday.

That was understandable.

The night before, the Penguins won one of the more confounding, exhilarating and strange games in recent memory. They defeated one of their Metropolitan Division rivals, the Washington Capitals, 8-7 in overtime.

"It was a weird game. An entertaining game for the fans, I'm sure," defenseman Ian Cole said, "but not very entertaining for us or our coaches. It was a good battle game, though. We faced a lot of adversity and were able to overcome that in the end, which I think is good."

Following the practice, and having had time to absorb Monday night, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and goalie Matt Murray each compared their comeback turned third-period collapse turned overtime winner to junior hockey.

"I've played in a few high-scoring games," Crosby said. "In junior, we had some games that were similar to that where it's high-scoring and that the last goal is going to win the game. So, it's just kind of weird the way it works out like that, but they're fun. I mean, not great for coaches and I'm sure they'd like to see more defense, but you have to find a way to win those sometimes."

Video: WSH@PIT: Sheary jams puck off skate and in for OT win

Fun is subjective. After the game, Evgeni Malkin joked it was fun for the forwards, but probably not the goalies.

Murray, who allowed seven goals for the first time in his NHL career on 28 shots, confirmed Malkin's take Tuesday.

"It's not a fun game to be a part of, as a goalie," Murray said. "Everything is kind of around the net. I bet you almost every shot they had was a scoring chance. So, it's just little weird things like that. A lot of tips. A lot of bad bounces off of our guy to their guy. That type of stuff.

"A win's a win and we'll forget about that one pretty quick."

With the Penguins coming off three straight losses and the Capitals looking to extend a nine-game winning streak, the game started as more of the same. Washington led 3-0 lead after a goal by Justin Williams 1:17 into the second period before Pittsburgh scored six goals to lead 6-5 entering the third period.

After letting a 5-3 lead slip away in the second period, Pittsburgh failed to preserve a second two-goal in the third, when Capitals forwards T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller scored to tie it 7-7.

Video: WSH@PIT: Eller scores his second to tie game at 7

But Conor Sheary shoveled in his second goal of the game, 34 seconds into overtime, for the win.

"I think you look back on it and are like 'Oh, I've never really been part of a game like that,' or at least that I can remember," Cole said. "As a defenseman, you don't want to have an 8-7 game because someone wasn't doing their job, or I guess in this case, many people weren't doing their job.

"It's something that's not ideal for us, but the ability to battle through that adversity, to come back from down 3-0 against the best team in the NHL right now, it's a good sign for our team."

Pittsburgh scored six goals in a period for the first time since March 21, 2000, when Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Wright each scored twice in an 8-2 win against the New York Islanders.

The Capitals scored seven goals in a loss for the first time since Oct. 11, 1988, when they also lost 8-7 to the Penguins.

Malkin scored three second-period goals for his 11th NHL hat trick, which passed Kevin Stevens for second in Penguins history behind Mario Lemieux (40). Crosby ended his five-game goal drought and finished with one goal and three assists.

Despite those fireworks and historical timepieces, Pittsburgh is quickly turning away from what it mostly views as a resilient, but sloppy performance.

"It's just pretty much what we thought," Crosby said. "You look at it and we did some good things. I'm sure [the Capitals] look at it and think the same thing. I mean, pucks off of skates and off bodies, and scrambles and everything. It's just one of those nights where it's bouncing and going in, and you want to be on the winning side of that."

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