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game recap

Penguins defeat Capitals to end seven-game skid

DeSmith makes 24 saves for Pittsburgh; Washington has lost five of six

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

Recap: PIT 4, WSH 1

Penguins stop skid at 7 games with a 4-1 victory

Casey DeSmith stopped all but one shot in net, Jake Guentzel scored a goal and earned an assist, helping the Penguins halt their skid

  • 04:59 •

WASHINGTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins won for the first time in eight games, 4-1 against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (5-6-2), who were 0-6-1 in their previous seven games following a 4-0-1 start. Casey DeSmith made 24 saves for his first win of the season (1-3-1).

"It was the most complete game we've played," DeSmith said. "Everybody stepped up, penalty killers especially -- defensemen, obviously. And then we got some goals from some big guys."

Video: PIT@WSH: McGinn fires a shot that slips in for a SHG

Marcus Johansson scored for the Capitals (6-7-2), who have lost five of six. Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves.

"I feel like we came out the right way, but we didn't get rewarded for it and then the scale tipped to their side after that," Washington forward Lars Eller said. "We just weren't good enough today to win."

The Capitals were 0-for-4 on the power play; the Penguins were 0-for-3.

Jason Zucker gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 7:43 of the second period when he shot the puck from above the goal line near the right corner. The puck was loose behind Kuemper in the crease and the goalie knocked it in with his left leg.

"It was a shot that kind of bounced down between my legs and trickled behind me," Kuemper said. "And then I tried to squeeze my legs together to get a whistle, and unfortunately I kicked it in."

Video: PIT@WSH: Zucker scores in 2nd period

Brock McGinn's short-handed goal at 12:53 made it 2-0. Carter intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and passed to McGinn, whose shot from just inside the right face-off circle trickled through the five-hole.

"We wanted to get puck out of their D-men's hands as quick as we could," McGinn said. "I think 'Carts' made a good [play] reading it up the wall and then getting the puck to me, and I was just fortunate I was able to score there."

Jeff Petry made it 3-0 with a high slap shot from the center point at 15:05.

Johanssen pulled the Capitals within 3-1 at 12:22 of the third period when he scored from the slot off a pass from Sonny Milano behind the net.

Guentzel scored into an empty net at 18:24 for the 4-1 final.

"It was tight both ways. I think any time you play Pittsburgh, it's kind of a game that drags through the mud a little bit," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's not a lot of room. It's not pretty. It's not flashy and so we had looks, we had opportunities, finally got one in the third but probably too little, too late."

Video: PIT@WSH: Petry buries a shot from the blue line

The Penguins played with four defensemen after Pierre-Olivier Joseph (lower-body injury) and Jan Rutta (upper body) left the game in the second period.

"I think everybody understands the situation that we've got to get off a little bit quicker maybe and shorter shifts," Pittsburgh defenseman Marcus Pettersson said. "Our forwards got to help out, and I think they did a terrific job getting pucks deep for us so we could change."

Forward Jeff Carter played one shift on defense when Petry briefly went to the locker room in the third.

"I'm not sure he can skate backwards," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Carter. "But he's a pretty smart player and we figured we could use his wealth of experience in the League to help him."

NOTES: Penguins center Sidney Crosby (assist) has 85 points (28 goals, 57 assists) in 63 games against Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has 61 points (32 goals, 29 assists). … Carter played 14:18 in his return after missing three games with a lower-body injury. … Guentzel has 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games against the Capitals. … Ovechkin's six-game point streak (five goals, two assists) ended. … Milano had an assist for his first point in three games with Washington. … Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev played 11:48 and had one shot on goal in his season debut.

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