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Aftermath: Capitals 6, Penguins 3

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Video:  Game Highlights
Postgame:  Bylsma | Crosby
More: Orpik | Gonchar | N. Johnson
Blog: Pens vs.Caps Game Blog
The Penguins and Capitals went toe-to-toe in the first two periods of the game. Each team traded blows, goals and leads in a heavyweight style fight. It was even after 40 minutes with the scored tied at 3-3.

But Washington pulled away in the third period, thanks to two quick goals in the first few minutes of the frame. Two breakdowns led to the goals and the Capitals capitalized. Pittsburgh wasn’t able to dig out of the hole and suffered a loss in the first of four games between these two teams.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -Alex Ovechkin scored twice and the streaking Washington Capitals scored the final four goals to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Thursday night in the first game this season between two of the NHL's elite teams.

Nick Johnson scored his first career NHL goal in his first career game (photo by Getty)
What Went Well: Nick Johnson’s Two Firsts
Pittsburgh rookie Nick Johnson made his NHL debut and also scored his first career goal. Johnson showed soft hands when he was able to coral a puck above the crease and slide a shot over the goal line for the score.

What Could Have Gone Better: Start of the Third Period

The Penguins and Capitals entered the final period all tied at 3-3. At that point it was anybody’s game. However, four minutes into the frame Washington jumped out to a 5-3 lead. The two scores in a 53-second span was too much for the Penguins to overcome.
Ruslan Fedotenko had a breakout performance by setting up all three Penguins’ goals to tie a career high. He made a great pass to find Kris Letang in the slot for a power-play score. Fedotenko finished the game with a plus-1 rating, four shots, two hits and 17:10 minutes of ice time.
Sidney Crosby gave Pittsburgh an early lead with his 33rd tally of the season four minutes into the opening period. Evgeni Malkin re-directed a pass into the Washington zone. Goaltender Jose Theodore skated to the left of the net and misplayed the puck. The rubber slid through the crease. Ruslan Fedotenko jammed the puck off the post but Crosby swooped in to push the puck over the goal line. Pittsburgh 1, Washington 0.

The Capitals tied the game with 5:36 left in the first period. Alex Ovechkin carried the puck down the near side. He made a beautiful stickhandling move to get around a Penguins defender and took a shot on net. Mike Knuble batted in the rebound. Pittsburgh 1, Washington 1.

The Capitals grabbed the lead 2:22 into the second period. Eric Fehr took a free puck in the far corner and jammed a wraparound shot into the goal. Washington 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Pittsburgh pulled even with a score 28 seconds after the Capitals took the lead. Fedotenko took a long-range shot from just inside the blue line of the Washington zone. Theodore kicked out the rebound. Malkin slid the puck across the top of the crease to Nick Johnson. Johnson, playing in his first career NHL game, went backhand, forehand before pushing the puck over the goal line for his first career NHL goal. Pittsburgh 2, Washington 2.

The Penguins regained the lead halfway through the second period with a power-play goal. Malkin took a hit in the far corner to push the puck to Fedotenko. The Ukrainian forward found Kris Letang in the high slot. Letang blasted a one-timer into the top corner. Pittsburgh 3, Washington 2.

Washington tied the game with 3:35 left in the second frame on Ovechkin’s 31st goal of the season. The Russian phenom snapped a shot from the midpoint that eluded goalie Brent Johnson. Pittsburgh 3, Washington 3.

Washington regained the lead at the 2:32 mark of the third period. Alexander Semin’s breakout pass to Tomas Fleischmann sprung the forward on a breakaway. Fleischmann buried a snap shot form the high slot. Washington 4, Pittsburgh 3.

The Capitals took a two-goal lead with a power-play tally. Nicklas Backstrom skated the puck from behind the net and lifted a shot into the cage. Washington 5, Pittsburgh 3.

Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game with a flip shot from inside his own blue line into an empty net. Washington 6, Pittsburgh 3.
With forwards Pascal Dupuis and Maxime Talbot out with injuries, the Penguins recalled Dustin Jeffrey and Nick Johnson from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Johnson made his NHL debut and scored his first career goal.
> Pittsburgh dropped to 31-20-1 on the season with a 15-9-1 mark at Mellon Arena.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S.Crosby (33), 4:22 1st period: Penguins 1, Capitals 0
WAS, M.Knuble (14), 14:25 1st period: Penguins 1, Capitals 1
WAS, Fehr (13), 2:22 2nd period: Capitals 2, Penguins 1
PIT, N.Johnson (1), 2:50 2nd period: Penguins 2, Capitals 2
PIT, K.Letang PP (3), 10:46 2nd period: Penguins 3, Capitals 2
WAS, A.Ovechkin PP (31), 16:25 2nd period: Penguins 3, Capitals 3
WAS, T.Fleischmann (17), 2:32 3rd period: Capitals 4, Penguins 3
WAS, N.Backstrom PP (21), 3:25 3rd period: Capitals 5, Penguins 3
WAS, A.Ovechkin EN (32), 19:34 3rd period: Capitals 6, Penguins 3

> The Penguins are now 49-23-5 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 25-10-2 at Mellon Arena.

> The Penguins are now 33-7-2 when netting a game’s first goal all-time under Bylsma.

> Sidney Crosby scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season. He has 15 points (9G-6A) in his last eight games.

> Evgeni Malkin posted three assists in the game. In his last three games, Malkin has seven points (4G-3A).

> Ruslan Fedotenko tied a career high with three assists.

> Nick Johnson made his NHL debut and scored his first career goal

> The Penguins raised more than $34,000 for Haiti earthquake relief to be donated to the American Red Cross. Fans donated $17,309 as they entered the arena and the Penguin organization matched that contribution, for a total of more than $34,600.
1. A.Ovechkin
2. T.Fleischmann
3. E.Malkin
"We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. I don’t
think we played a bad third. They were
just a little bit better."
- Sidney Crosby


Author: Sam Kasan

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