The Capitals hold on to defeat the Penguins, 6-3, despite a goal and two assists from Sidney Crosby
and a two-goal night by Jordan Leopold. The Penguins will be back in action on Thursday night when they host the New York Islanders in the final regular-season contest at Mellon Arena. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 7:20 p.m. for a special pre-game ceremony.
The race for the Rocket Richard Trophy will head to the finala days of the season as Ovechkin throws a shot into the empty cage for his 48th tally of the season and second goal of the game, tying him atop the leaderboard with Crosby. Capitals 6, Penguins 3.
Head coach Dan Bylsma uses his timeout.
Johnson has been pulled in favor of the extra attacker.
Not much happening for the Penguins on that power play as the Capitals easily kill it off.
Eric Fehr will give the Penguins a chance to get back into the game as he is caught high-sticking Goligoski.
Fedotenko lays the hardest hit of the night as he drills Morrisonn against the boards in the near corner as the Penguins apply a hard forecheck on the Capitals.
Varlamov comes up huge at the other end of the rink as he stops a backhander by Mike Rupp.
A potential game-saver by Johnson as he slides out to the slot to stop a wide-open Ovechkin.
The Penguins' dominating third line - Kennedy, Staal and Cooke - all have great scoring chances but their shots either missed the net or were blocked as Varlamov had no idea where those pucks were.
That didn't take long. Backstrom won the faceoff and Ovechkin picked up the loose puck, firing a laser past the glove of Johnson for his 47th goal of the season. Capitals 5, Penguins 3.
Pittsburgh will have to go on the penalty kill for the first time tonight with Guerin sent to the sin bin for high-sticking.
During the stoppage the crowd chants "MVP, MVP, MVP" as Crosby recorded his fourth 100-point campaign on Leopold's goal. Crosby is now six points behind NHL scoring leader Henrik Sedin.
We are going to have a slight delay as a pane of glass has been broken.
19:11: Pascal Dupuis
drops a pass to Leopold, whose slap shot jumps into the back of the cage for his career-high 10th goal of the season and second goal of the night. Crosby picks up his 100th point of the season. Capitals 4, Penguins 3.
Pittsburgh looks to pick up the come-from-behind victory.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Pittsburgh has the advantage on the faceoff dot, 19-16.
- Maxime Talbot leads the way for the Penguins with five hits.
- Jordan Staal
is 6-2 on faceoffs.
The Penguins will have to play catch-up against the Capitals once again as Washington takes a 4-2 lead into the final period. Pittsburgh has the better of the shots, 19-16.
Pittsburgh just cannot take a break as the referees blwo the whistle before a turnaround shot by Tyler Kennedy
goes through Varlamov and rolls over the goal line. Needless to say the crowd was none too pleased.2:00:
Washington restores their two-goal advantage as former Penguin Matt Bradley crashes the net and deflects a Quintin Laing shot through the legs of Johnson for his 10th goal of the season off the rush. Capitals 4, Penguins 2.
Johnson hasn't seen much action thus far but he is alert to snarl Laich's wrist shot from the far side out of the air with his glove. The Penguins are going to need Johnson to hold down the fort the remainder of the contest.
Jason Chimera had a shorthanded breakaway but misses the net as he tries making a move on Johnson.
Gonchar almost tied the game right there as he ripped a shot off the crossbar behind Varlamov. The Penguins are swarming right now.
Momentum is clearly going the Penguins' way right now as they head to their third power play of the evening with Eric Fehr in the box for hooking.
Jordan Leopold can be considered red-hot right now! He takes a pass at the right point from Crosby and sends a shot which deflects off Morrisonn's skate and jumps through the wickets of Varlamov. Capitals 3, Penguins 2.
13:18: Brent Johnson
replaces Fleury between the pipes.
Tomas Fleischmann has a loose puck carom off Maxime Talbot to his stick at the top of the near circle. Fleischmann beats Fleury over the blocker. Capitals 3, Penguins 1.
Unbelievable! Not sure if the Capitals realize Sidney Crosby
had 47 goals because they just allowed him to walk to the far faceoff dot and blister a shot under the blocker of Varlamov for his league-leading 48th goal of the season. Guerin and Gonchar on the assists. Capitals 2, Penguins 1.
Here is a great chance for the Penguins to get back into this game as Knuble is sent to the box for holding.
Pittsburgh almost jams a puck under Varlamov as Kennedy was hammering away from just outside the crease but the Russian goaltender said no.
New Jersey is currently holding a 2-0 lead over the Altanta Thrashers as the Penguins and Devils continue to battle for the Atlantic Division crown.
Washington increases their lead as Mike Knuble takes a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and unleashes a slap shot from the top of the right-wing circle which gets through the legs of Fleury. Capitals 2, Penguins 0.
The Penguins and Capitals are back underway.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Pittsburgh outhit Washington, 11-5.
- Matt Cooke
led the way for the Penguins with three hits.
- Jordan Leopold blocked four shots.
The clock runs out on the first period with the Capitals holding a 1-0 lead over the Penguins. Washington also has the better of the shots, 10-9.
Varlamov maks his best stop of the first pad as he throws his right pad out to deny a great look from the slot by Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Ovechkin's penalty expires before the Penguins could do any damage.
Pittsburgh receives the first power play of the evening as Ovechkin is sent to the box for slashing Ruslan Fedotenko.
Ovechkin got his stick up high into the face of one of the Penguins but the referees must have missed it as no penalty is called on the play.
Washington takes advantage of one of the Penguins falling down. Alexander Semin streaks down the right wing and fires a laster past the glove hand of Fleury for his 39th goal of the season. Capitals 1, Penguins 0.
Pittsburgh dodges a bullet as Ovechkin's blistering shot from the left wing clangs off the post.
9:16: Tyler Kennedy
and Jordan Staal
give-and-go into the Capitals zone before Kennedy is stoned at the side of the cage by a paddle stop by Varlamov.
Semyon Varlamov continues to prove his glove hand is his weakness as he has trouble catching a wrist shot from Bill Guerin. Luckily for him the shot drifts wide of the net.
Fleury is on top of his game tonight, this time denying Jay Beagle, recalled earlier in the day, with a kick save.
Fleury comes in front front of the blue paint to corral a Mike Knuble slap shot from the right wing.
In Malkin's absence, Maxime Talbot has been elevated to the second line between Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bill Guerin. The rest of the workings are Sidney Crosby
between Pascal Dupuis
and Ruslan Fedotenko, Jordan Staal
centering Matt Cooke
and Tyler Kennedy
, and Craig Adams
pivoting with Mike Rupp, and a rotation. 15:15:
Tyler Sloan gets a good look from the far point but Fleury gets out on top of his crease to make that save. The Capitals have a 5-1 shots advantage thus far.
18:26: Marc-Andre Fleury
is in the game as he stops a wrist shot from the left point off the blade of Shaone Morrisonn.
The puck is dropped in this marquee matchup between the Eastern Conference's top two teams.
7:35 PM: Evgeni Malkin
is out of the lineup tonight for the Penguins due to illness. Chris Kunitz
is also out with an undisclosed injury. Washington's scratches include Mike Green, Eric Belanger, Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker among others.
The rivalry which captures the attention of hockey fans everywhere takes center stage in the next-to-last regular-season contest in Mellon Arena history as the Penguins welcome the Washington Capitals. All eyes will once again be focused on superstar sensations Sidney Crosby
and Alex Ovechkin, battling down the wire for the Rocket Richard Trophy. Crosby enters tonight's contest with a 47-46 lead on Ovechkin.
Author: Jason Seidling