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game recap

Penguins win latest showdown with Capitals

Ovechkin scores in third, but Pittsburgh gets three power-play goals

by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins scored three times on the power play, and Matt Murray made 20 saves in a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary scored for the Penguins (2-1-1).

Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading eighth goal to get the Capitals within 3-2 with 7:09 left in the third period.

 

[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Capitals highlights]

 

Washington killed two of three penalties in the first period, but Letang made it 1-0 at 5:22 when he flipped a bouncing puck over Capitals goalie Braden Holtby's shoulder from outside the crease.

The Penguins made it 2-0 at 8:20 of the second period on a goal by Hornqvist, who scored in his first game back after offseason surgery on his right hand. He also had an assist on Letang's goal.

"Some plays around the walls and timing a little bit, but obviously what can you do?" Hornqvist said of playing after the layoff. "You have to play games to get better, and it was good to get the win and it was fun to be back out there."

Video: PIT@WSH: Hornqvist jams in PPG in season debut

Pittsburgh's first two goals came with five seconds and six seconds to go on those power plays.

The Capitals killed 13 of 14 penalties entering the game and committed a season-high six Wednesday. Washington has allowed a goal on four of its past seven penalty kills.

The Penguins have killed 17 penalties in a row after stopping the Capitals four times.

"That's huge against that team every time," Murray said. "And then our power play was really good too. I think that's key against a team like that. Especially tonight, I thought there was a lot of special teams, not a whole lot of 5-on-5. We did a really good job."

Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos scored in his NHL debut with 53 seconds left in the second period to make it 2-1. Sheary poked in a rebound 38 seconds into the third period to make it 3-1.

Djoos, a seventh-round pick (No. 195) in the 2012 NHL Draft, had an assist on Ovechkin's goal. Holtby made 33 saves for Washington (2-1-1).

"The thing with Christian is, we know that he's a good hockey player," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "He's going to have to continue to get stronger and continue to play at this level. You can see the instincts are really good. He's got a real good sense for the game. His IQ is really good. But it's a process. It's one game, and we'll be patient."

Video: PIT@WSH: Ovechkin jams home Djoos' cross-crease feed

 

Goal of the game

In a game filled of greasy goals around the net, Letang's skill stood out. A bouncing puck caromed off Hornqvist and Penguins forward Bryan Rust in front, and Letang got it at the right post and deftly lifted it.

Video: PIT@WSH: Letang backhands home PPG from in front

 

Save of the game

Holtby made a pad save on a wrist shot from Penguins forward Carl Hagelin alone in the slot. That shorthanded attempt would have extended Pittsburgh's lead to 4-1.

Video: PIT@WSH: Holtby extends pad to rob Hagelin's break

 

Highlight of the game

Holtby saw the speedy Hagelin racing up ice with no Capitals defenseman anywhere close. The goalie charged out of his net, was beaten to the puck by Hagelin, yet managed to make a play on it at the blueline. Holtby fell on the loose puck and covered it with his glove, which resulted in a delay of game penalty 10:33 into the first period.

 

They said it

"He brings so much to this team. He plays with so much swagger. He's just a great competitor. When he's on the bench, he brings juice to our bench. You hear him chirping all the time. He's just awesome to have around. And it's contagious. It's contagious with our group." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the return of forward Patric Hornqvist

 

"First game in the NHL and you get a goal and an assist. That wasn't my plan really when I showed up at the rink. I was going to play good and play a structured game and detailed game, but happy with the goal and the assist. But couldn't get the win, so not good enough." -- Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos

 

Need to know

Ovechkin's eight goals in four games tops his previous best of five goals in the first four games of a season (2014-15, 2013-14, 2009-10).

 

What's next

Penguins: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, TVA Sports, SUN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the New Jersey Devils on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Pens' power play strikes three times in 3-1 win

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