Skip to main content


game recap

Capitals rally, top Penguins on late power-play goal

Braden Holtby makes 28 saves to get 40th win

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

T.J. Oshie nets the game-winner

PIT@WSH: T.J. Oshie tips one by Mark Murray

3/1/16: T.J Oshie redirects a Matt Niskanen slap shot and finds the back of the net to give the Capitals a lead late in the 3rd period

  • 00:57 •

WASHINGTON -- Braden Holtby made 28 saves to reach 40 wins for a second consecutive season in the Washington Capitals' come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center on Tuesday.

T.J. Oshie scored the game-winning goal on the power play with 6:22 remaining, deflecting defenseman Matt Niskanen's shot past Penguins goalie Matthew Murray.

"This one's probably a little bit more of my forte, just taking slap shot after slap shot and get a lucky bounce and it goes in, rather than the end-to-end-stuff," said Niskanen, who intially was credited with the game-winner. "Nice timing too; that time of the game in the third period, take advantage of a power play."

Holtby is the seventh goalie in NHL history to win 40 or more games in back-to-back seasons, the first since Evgeni Nabokov did it in three straight with the San Jose Sharks from 2007-09.

Video: PIT@WSH: Holtby denies big chance in front of goal

It didn't look early on like Holtby was going to get to 40 against Pittsburgh, but Washington scored three straight goals after falling behind 2-0 early in the second period.

"We're comfortable as we go on in the game," said Holtby, who is eight wins from tying Martin Brodeur's NHL record for the most in a single season (48, 2006-07). "No matter the score, I think we're pretty confident in our ability to get those three, four goals ... We don't get too fazed by one or two goals."

The Capitals (46-12-4), who lead the second-place New York Rangers by 16 points for first place in the Metropolitan Division, have allowed the first goal in 15 of their past 18 games.

"It's hard in our position, where we are right now, to always bring that exact same intensity that you need to fire back and go out and prove something," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "It's a match against the other team, but it's a match against ourselves too."

Video: PIT@WSH: Kuznetsov puts home rebound to tie game

Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scored in the second period for Washington, which has won five of its past seven games against Pittsburgh.

Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Penguins (32-22-8), who had won two in a row, and Murray made 34 saves.

"They definitely came out hard in the second, and we kind of backed off a little bit more than we wanted to," Murray said. "We let them dictate the pace, which we can't do, especially with a team like that. We just need to try to dictate the pace a little more."

Malkin opened the scoring at 6:14 of the first period. Carl Hagelin chipped the puck ahead from the neutral zone to start a 2-on-1 for Malkin and Phil Kessel, and Malkin beat Holtby to the stick side for his 24th goal.

Video: PIT@WSH: Malkin scores on the two-on-one opportunity

Hornqvist scored at 3:45 of the second period to put the Penguins up 2-0. After Murray made a save on a Stanislav Galiev shot, Sidney Crosby carried the puck through the neutral zone before passing to Olli Maatta at the top of the Capitals zone. Maatta set up Hornqvist to the left of Holtby and he scored his 16th goal on the backhand.

Wilson scored 39 seconds later to cut the Penguins lead to 2-1. Defenseman Nate Schmidt corralled the puck in the Pittsburgh zone and tapped it to the high slot for Mike Richards, whose shot Wilson tipped past Murray for his sixth goal.

Kuznetsov tied it 2-2 at 16:03 of the second. Justin Williams went behind the Pittsburgh net and attempted a wraparound that was blocked by Murray. Kuznetsov scored on the rebound for his 20th goal, an NHL career-high. He has 11 points in his past nine games, and his 65 points lead the Capitals.

Video: PIT@WSH: Richards scores through traffic

"We knew they were going to push back," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They're a good team. We've got to control the momentum swings a little bit better."

Despite rallying to win, Washington coach Barry Trotz would like to see the Capitals get off to a better start in upcoming games.

"We're going to have to readjust our alarm clocks or whatever," Trotz said. "These starts….if we don't get that corrected, that's got to come from within. I tried for a while. I'm bringing it back in the room; I'm throwing it on them. They're a resilient group."

Video: Niskanen finishes come from behind win over Penguins

View More