Skip to Main Content
game recap

Penguins lock up second place in Metropolitan

Defeat Capitals in overtime, deny Holtby wins record

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Sidney Crosby scored 4:00 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals and home-ice advantage for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We've worked hard to get to that point, and I think that we've just got to keep in mind what got us here and make sure we continue to play the same way," Crosby said.

Matt Cullen scored two goals, and Conor Sheary scored for Pittsburgh (48-25-8), which won its eighth game in a row and will finish second behind Washington in the Metropolitan Division. Matthew Murray made 27 saves.

Video: PIT@WSH: Crosby nets breakaway for slick GWG in OT

"I'm really happy for our players," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I think they've worked extremely hard here over the last two months to put ourselves in the best possible position to reach our ultimate goal. This is one more checkbox that we were able to accomplish and against a very good team."

Andre Burakovsky tied the game at 13:29 of the third, Marcus Johansson scored twice, and Braden Holtby made 31 saves for Washington (55-17-8).

Holtby failed for a second time to tie Martin Brodeur's NHL record of 48 wins in a season. The Capitals have games remaining Saturday and Sunday; Holtby will play either at the St. Louis Blues or home against the Anaheim Ducks.

Video: PIT@WSH: Cullen scores a SHG for his second of game

"We clinched the playoff spot early," Holtby said. "It might be that some guys are real excited to play the playoffs and forget about playing the last games here. I think that's something we have to get rid of and start really playing well in the next two here so we can be ready for what's coming up."

Cullen scored 44 seconds into the first period to make it 1-0. On an odd-man rush, Tom Kuhnhackl fed Cullen with a backhand pass and Cullen scored short side on Holtby for his 15th goal. It was the fastest an opponent has scored on the Capitals this season.

Cullen scored again 28 seconds into the second period. His shorthanded goal came on another odd-man break when his shot deflected off Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen's skate. It was his third shorthanded goal of the season and gave him 10 points in his past 10 games.

Video: PIT@WSH: Burakovsky tips in game-tying goal

"It was nice to get a couple tonight," Cullen said. "Obviously you're happy anytime the puck goes in the net. It's been good. I've been fortunate I've gotten to play with a lot of good players this year, and I've been on the receiving end of a lot of nice plays."

Sheary made it 3-0 at 9:30 of the second. Oskar Sundqvist came down on the rush and supplied Sheary with the pass, and he scored between Holtby's legs, his seventh.

"Obviously, it's frustrating," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "You can't give a 3-0 lead to a team like that, but, you know, it's a good thing, like, we came back. It's a tough loss, but, you know, just have to learn from it."

Video: PIT@WSH: Johansson collects his second goal of game
Johansson made it 3-1 at 17:19 of the second period. He tipped John Carlson's slap pass past Murray, ending an 18-game drought dating to Feb. 28. Johansson made it 3-2 at 10:05 of the third period with his 17th goal, scored from the left circle off a Niskanen feed.

Pittsburgh ends the regular season Saturday at the Philadelphia Flyers.

"We tried to weather the storm, we tried to grab the momentum back, but you have to give their team credit," Sullivan said. "They're a good team and they made some plays. What I liked about our group is it didn't rattle us. We just kept playing."

Video: Crosby nets game-winner in OT to down Capitals

View More