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game recap

Capitals clinch first in Metropolitan with win against Penguins

Grubauer makes 36 saves for seventh victory in eight starts; Ovechkin plays 1,000th game

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Capitals clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.


[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Penguins highlights]


Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves for the Capitals (47-25-7), who have won six of seven games and are five points ahead of the Penguins (45-29-6). Washington has won the division three straight seasons.

Grubauer, who played his 100th NHL game (78 starts), had a shutout until Patric Hornqvist cut the Capitals lead to 3-1 at 16:15 of the third period. He is 7-1-0 in eight games since March 10.

Video: WSH@PIT: Hornqvist pots juicy rebound

"It was nice to get the win and the points, and win the division," Grubauer said. "I think that was huge. Last couple games we played in here weren't too good, so it's a momentum-builder for us. We have to make sure we play the right way next couple games. It's going to be huge."

Matt Murray made 31 saves for Pittsburgh (45-29-6), which is two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers for second in the Metropolitan. The Blue Jackets and Flyers each have played one fewer game than the Penguins.

Pittsburgh clinched its 12th straight berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

"I don't think we're going to learn anything new [about the Capitals]," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We've played these guys so many times. We know exactly what they are, and they know what we are. … There's a lot of familiarity on both sides. Everybody knows what kind of game it's going to be going in."

Alex Ovechkin played his 1,000th NHL game, all with the Capitals, the first player in their history to do so.

"It's important. Milestones are milestones," said Ovechkin, who had four shots on goal in 22:47. "It's history. It's nice to be in the history book."

T.J. Oshie gave Washington a 1-0 lead at 6:25 of the first period. Andre Burakovsky stick-handled through the neutral zone before passing to Oshie, who held off Evgeni Malkin before skating in alone on Murray and beating him five-hole.

Video: WSH@PIT: Oshie beats Murray five-hole

Oshie played after leaving a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday with a lower-body injury.

The Penguins didn't take advantage of an opportunity to tie it on a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:20 after Matt Niskanen was called for delay of game at 6:37 of the second period. Pittsburgh's best chance came at 7:48, when Malkin sent a one-timer past a diving Grubauer and off the crossbar.

"You guys ever, in your life or at your job, think, 'Well, I'm a dummy'? [The delay of game penalty] was one of my moments," Niskanen said. "Good job by the killers there, and [Grubauer]."

The Penguins and Capitals each were 0-for-5 on the power play.

Dmitry Orlov put Washington ahead 2-0 with a wrist shot between defenseman Olli Maatta's legs and past Murray's blocker at 13:46 of the second.

Tom Wilson made it 3-0 by deflecting a Niskanen shot over Murray 23 seconds into the third period.


Goal of the game

Orlov's goal at 13:46 of the second period.

Video: WSH@PIT: Orlov wrists one past Murray


Save of the game

Grubauer stopping Sidney Crosby at 13:27 of the third period.

Video: WSH@PIT: Grubauer flashes the leather on Crosby


Highlight of the game

Wilson's goal 23 seconds into the third period.

Video: WSH@PIT: Wilson scores on redirection


They said it

"[Winning the division] goes to the guys in the room and all the guys that put in the work all year. Obviously, it was a tough summer for us as an organization. Just getting some traction coming out of the gates was as tough as it's been. I think we kind of grew together. We understood what we might have to be just to make the playoffs." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


"We sent a message, like we're ready to play in the playoffs. Maybe the second round. I think we had a great game, but I'm glad we showed in the last three minutes that we're not going to stop playing. We showed that we're ready to play if we meet each other in the playoffs." -- Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin


Need to know

Capitals forward Jay Beagle left the game with an upper-body injury at 14:16 of the first period. Trotz said he is doubtful to play against the St. Louis Blues on Monday. … Penguins forward Phil Kessel played his 690th consecutive NHL game after being a game-time decision. He sustained a lower-body injury midway through the third period against the Canadiens on Saturday. ... Maatta played his 300th NHL game. … Murray lost a home start in regulation for the first time since Jan. 4, when he allowed four goals on 33 shots in a 4-0 loss to the Hurricanes. That ended his streak of 10 straight games without a regulation loss at home (9-0-1).


What's next

Capitals: At the Blues on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, FS-MW, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Blue Jackets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, FS-O, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)


Video: Caps clinch division title with 3-1 win against Pens

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