HERSHEY – Sunday’s game in Hershey showcased two of the last three top-overall picks in the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
It was the first battle between Fleury, taken first in 2003, and Ovechkin, the first choice in 2004. Even though the Penguins dropped a 3-2 decision to the Capitals, Fleury won the battle with Ovechkin.
Fleury shut out Ovechkin for the duration of the contest. In the shootout following the game, Ovechkin had a golden chance to beat Fleury. However, the Penguins goaltender sprawled out and brilliantly poke-checked the puck away from Ovechkin on his penalty shot.
“I didn’t want to let him do too much or he’d put me in the corner,” Fleury said. “I didn’t want to give him much time. I knew I could get (the puck).”
Pittsburgh took an early 1-0 lead. Erik Christensen sent a missile toward the net from the top of the far circle. Tomas Surovy deflected the puck over Ollie Kolzig’s glove to give the Penguins a 1-0 edge with 1:57 to play in the first period.
Washington’s Brian Willsie tied the game at 1-1 with 5:13 to go in the second period. He deflected Jamie Heward’s shot from the point past Fleury on a power play.
The Capitals cashed in on a two-man advantage for a 2-1 with 8:41 remaining in the third when Willsie fired a slapper past Fleury.
Just 21 seconds later, and still on a two-man power play, the Capitals (1-3-1) scored when Jeff Halpern slid the puck past Fleury during a scrum in front of the goal.
Michel Ouellet brought the Penguins (0-3-2) within a goal, 3-2, when he converted from the slot with 5:51 to play.
Washington won the shootout, 1-0, when Andrew Cassels beat Fleury.
The Penguins return to Pittsburgh on Monday. They resume practice on Tuesday and welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to Mellon Arena that day at 7:30 p.m. It is the first professional hockey game in Pittsburgh since April 4, 2004, and marks the Pittsburgh debut of top-pick Sidney Crosby.