Final Score: Washington 4, Pittsburgh 3.
The Penguins earn a point in Washington but it's the Capitals who receive the extra point with the shootout victory.
FOURTH WASHINGTON SHOOTER:
Mike Knuble wins it for the Capitals by beating Fleury over the left shoulder.
FOURTH PITTSBURGH SHOOTER: Chris Kunitz
is denied as he tries going five-hole.
THIRD WASHINGTON SHOOTER:
Alexander Semin goes to his backhand and lifts a shot top shelf to tie it, 2-2.
THIRD PITTSBURGH SHOOTER:
Bill Guerin is stopped by the blocker of Theodore.
SECOND WASHINGTON SHOOTER:
Alex Ovechkin gets the Capitals on the board by scoring on a pretty move to his forehand.
SECOND PITTSBURGH SHOOTER: Sidney Crosby
goes backhand, forehand and back to the backhand to totally undress Theodore.
FIRST WASHINGTON SHOOTER:
Fleury stops Nicklas Backstrom by laying in a snow angel and stopping him with the left pad.
FIRST PITTSBURGH SHOOTER: Kris Letang
uses a quick move to the forehand and beats Theodore to the short side.
Did we have a stoppage over that last three-plus minutes of overtime?! Wow, what action. We now go to a shootout following a highly-entertaining overtime session.
Eaton is back on the ice for the Penguins. He just teamed up to stop a one-on-two vs. Ovechkin.
Pittsburgh opens the overtime flying against the Capitals as Goligoski and Leopold each record shots.
Pittsburgh is 11-6 when the game stretches beyond 60 minutes this season while the Capitals are just 9-10. Washington defeated the Penguins, 5-4 in overtime, on Feb. 7 here at Verizon Center.
For the second straight meeting between these two teams we head to an overtime period. With at least this one point, the Penguins jump ahead of the New Jersey Devils back into first place in the Atlantic Division.
Washington uses their timeout with a faceoff to the right of Theodore.
We are back to square one at Verizon Center! Kunitz dishes from the near boards to Staal at the right faceoff dot. Staal picks the far corner over the glove of Theodore with a perfect shot. Penguins 3, Capitals 3.
Huge save by Theodore as he gets back on his feet quickly to stop a drive by Goligoski from the left seam. That save came eight seconds after Theodore totally robbed Staal with a blocker save.
Mark Eaton hobbled off the ice after a collision behind the Penguins net on the last Capitals rush. We will monitor whether he is able to come back on the ice.
Washington seems to be trapping the Penguins a bit here since taking the lead. They did this when they got up on Pittsburgh on Jan. 21. Kind of weird to see for a team that likes to run and gun.
If we want to look at the positive here, at least the Penguins aren't allowing Ovechkin to beat them tonight. A lot of time left here in this game for the Penguins.
Just like that the Capitals take the lead right back. Eric Belanger skates the puck behind the Pittsburgh net and feeds Green for a one-timer at the top of the right circle. Eric Fehr tips the shot past Fleury from the slot. Washington 3, Pittsburgh 2.
That is not what the Penguins wanted. Semin picked off a pass in his own zone, skated the puck 1-on-3 into the Pittsburgh end, took the puck to the high slot and beat Fleury over the glove with a wrist shot. Pittsburgh 2, Washington 2.
Jeff Schultz is heading to the sin bin for holding as he grab the head of Crosby after the Penguins captain totally undressed him with a great move to the outside. Pittsburgh is 1-for-4 on the power play tonight.
Fleury continues where he left off in the second period. The 25-year-old once again got out to the top of his crease to get his pads together to stop a shot by former teammate Matt Bradley with Quintin Laing right on his grill.
A positive sign for the Penguins - I don't think they have passed up many hits tonight against the Caps. Being tough to play against is a hallmark of the Penguins' system when they are on their game. What a bounce-back game for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh hopes to finish off their 43rd victory of the season and regain the Atlantic Division lead.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Maxime Talbot, who is playing one of his best games of the season, is plus-1 and is 4-2 on faceoffs.
- Hits are now 22-21 in favor of Pittsburgh.
- Both Sidney Crosby
and Alex Ovechkin each have picked up assists.
Two-thirds of the way through this battle between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference it is the Penguins holding a 2-1 lead on the Capitals. Pittsburgh is outshooting Washington 26-22.
Great job by Fleury to stay tight against his post as Knuble send a drive along the ice from the slot, but Fleury denied that shot with his left pad. Fleury continues to be the best player on the ice for either team.
World Junior hero John Carlson nearly sneaked a shot into the near upper corner of the net but his shot hit the outside of the post. Carlson scored twice, including the overtime game-winner, as Team USA defeated Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship.
I asked and the Penguins delivered. Crosby took a pass from Ponikarovsky cutting down the slot as a lane opened. Crosby momentarily lost possession of the puck but recovered to send a perfect backhand pass onto the stick of Guerin, whose one-timer landed in the open cage. Penguins 2, Capitals 1.
Washington continues to play undiscliplined. The Penguins have to make them pay for these penalties. Fleischmann tripped Letang in the neutral zone oh let's say a good 140 feet from the Capitals goal.
Fleury comes out of his crease a good 10-12 feet, drops down into the butterfly and stones Ovechkin with a glove save on a shot from the bottom of the far circle.
Pittsburgh is 0-for-3 on the power play as Washington again does a good number on them.
Washington fans are moaning about the call but the Penguins head to their third power play as Semin high-sticks Rupp. It looked like a pretty easy call to make. They should be happy he only got two because Rupp did draw blood. I don't know how they couldn't give him four minutes there.
Fleury has looked strong in his crease for the second-straight game. He is staying square to shots and getting out on top of his crease. This is the Fleury the Penguins are going to need from now until June.
Pittsburgh kills the Letang penalty as they did a great job getting in the shooting lanes and preventing both Ovechkin and Mike Green from using their overpowering shots. Twenty-five straight kills for the Penguins.
Washington cranks up the league's top-rated power play with Letang in the box for tripping Ovechkin, who made a good inside-out move on the Pittsburgh defender.
Momentum is back with the Penguins following the Talbot goal. Just like in the playoffs last spring the Penguins are working over the Washington defense in their own zone.
What an answer! Adams works the puck to Orpik at the left point. Orpik fires a slap shot which deflected off Talbot standing right outside the crease. It was Talbot's first goal in 31 games. Penguins 1, Capitals 1.
Washington draws first blood on a fluky goal. Backstrom's shot from the far boards went off Fleury, bounced high in the air and landed in the blue paint behind the Penguins netminder. Mike Knuble skated behind Fleury and tossed the loose puck into the cage. Capitals 1, Penguins 0.
If you wanted to show a young hockey player how to defend a one-on-one you would make him watch the way Orpik just stood Ovechkin up on a one-on-one.
Pittsburgh picks up right where they lleft off in the first period. Theodore just had to be alert to made a save with his right pad on a sneaky turning backhander from between the circles. You can see why Theodore is riding a 16-0-2 unbeaten streak.
Let's hope the Penguins continue carrying the play like they did in the first period.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Craig Adams
led the Penguins with three shots on goal.
- Pittsburgh outhit Washington, 12-9.
- Alex Goligoski saw a team-high 8:18 minutes of ice time.
Cooke and Ovechkin come together as the horn sounds on the first period. Pittsburgh totally dominates the action, outshooting the Capitals 17-9.
The Penguins have rung up 17 shots thus far in the first period. They are just buzzing around the Washington offensive zone.
Mike Rupp and Ovechkin do some pushing and shoving after the whistle as the emotion between these two teams is at a high level once again. I'll say this, what great hockey when these two teams play.
The Capitals kill off the minor and Pittsburgh is 0-for-2 on the man-advantage.
Ruslan Fedotenko driving the net pays of as Washington's Tomas Fleischmann trips him to give the Penguins their second power play of the period.
Orpik is throwing his weight around in this opening period. He just stepped up nicely on Alexander Semin on a one-on-one. It was at least his third hit of the period.
11:18: Marc-Andre Fleury
makes his first tough shot of the night as he stands tall to deny a wrist shot off the rush by Mike Knuble.
The Penguins are getting good looks from their points in the first period. Jordan Leopold just had two uncontested shots from the right point.
A lot of championship banners ... but none of them say Stanley Cup.
Great forecheck by Craig Adams
and Maxime Talbot in the corner as they pin Joe Corvo against the boards. The Penguins have come out playing a great road game tonight at Verizon Center.
Poti's back but the Penguins do get a couple good looks on that man-advantage.
Guerin and Ponikarovsky are up front with Crosby while Alex Goligoski and Letang are manning the points on the power play.
Seconds after Jose Theodore robs Matt Cooke
with a pad save on a drive from the slot, Tom Poti heads to the penalty box for clearing the puck over the glass.
It looks like head coach Dan Bylsma is going with Brooks Orpik
and Kris Letang
tonight in a matchup against Alex Ovechkin.
We just received word that Gonchar is out tonight due to illness. This is the 17th game this season Gonchar has missed.
Washington will be without the services of Brooks Laich, a 24-goal scorer who is out after taking a shot in the face at practice yesterday.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Sidney Crosby
and the Capitals Alex Ovechkin have each averaged 1.34 points per game in the regular season since breaking into the league during the 2005-06 campaign.
This is the Penguins third-to-last road game of the season. They will return home following this game for a six-game homestand at Mellon Arena before finishing the season with back-to-back road games at Atlanta and the NY Islanders.
Here are the combinations that will be used tonight by head coach Dan Bylsma with Gonchar and Malkin out of the lineup:
Bad news for the Penguins tonight as they will be without the services of both Evgeni Malkin
and Sergei Gonchar against the Capitals. Malkin is missing his fourth game in the past five contests. We will give an update on Gonchar if we get one.
Author: Jason Seidling