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Aftermath: Capitals 6, Penguins 3

Tuesday, 04.06.2010 / 11:00 PM / Features
By Jason Seidling
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Aftermath: Capitals 6, Penguins 3
 

LINKS
 
 
QUICK ANALYSIS
The Penguins spotted the Washington Capitals the first two goals and then spent the remainder of the evening attempting to play catch-up at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh rallied three times from two-goal deficits on goals by Sidney Crosby and Jordan Leopold (two), but each time the Penguins would get back within striking distance, Washington would answer, as the Capitals skated away with a 6-3 victory.

Pittsburgh once again did a great job containing Alex Ovechkin, holding him scoreless until two late insurance markers, including one into an empty net, as the Capitals’ supporting cast once again did the Penguins in. Washington received goals from secondary sources such as Tomas Fleischmann and Matt Bradley.

All is not lost for the Penguins, who will have a chance against the New York Islanders on Thursday night to finish off a 4-2 homestand in the final six regular-season contests at the Igloo. Pittsburgh is still very much in the race with the New Jersey Devils for the Atlantic Division crown, as they trail the Devils by just two points, 99-97.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Alex Ovechkin scored twice to tie Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead with 48 goals and the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals swept the season series from the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Crosby had a goal and two assists to give the Penguins captain his fourth 100-point season in five seasons - he missed only when he sat out two months of 2007-08 with a high ankle sprain - but Pittsburgh still lost its fourth in a row to Washington.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin
(photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
What Went Well: Crosby’s Chase for the Rocket Richard Trophy
Hockey is a team game, but anytime one of your players has a chance to pick up individual hardware it’s human nature to want to help them out. Sidney Crosby kept pace with Ovechkin in his quest to earn his first Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer, tallying on the power play in the second period to give him 48 goals, tying him for the league lead with Ovechkin.

What Could Have Gone Better: Completing the Comeback
You have to give the Penguins credit for battling back on several occasions Tuesday night. On three separate occasions the Penguins cut into two-goal leads for the Capitals, but all three times the Capitals restored their two-goal advantage.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Defenseman Jordan Leopold, the hero for the Penguins on Saturday when he beat Johan Hedberg in overtime to record his first goal as a Penguin, almost played the same role again on Tuesday. Leopold notched his first two-goal game since Nov. 1, 2003, twice allowing the Penguins to overcome two-goal deficits. Leopold was also a factor defensively, blocking a team-high four shots while earning 20:57 minutes of ice time.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
Washington struck first exactly 13 minutes into the first period. Alexander Semin carried the puck down the far side. Defenseman Alex Goligoski lost his edge and fell down. Semin wheeled around the fallen soldier, skated to the circle and snapped a high shot into the goal. Washington 1, Pittsburgh 0.

Washington increased its lead just seconds into the second period as Mike Knuble took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and stepped into a shot from the top of the right-wing circle which sneaked through the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury. Washington 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Sidney Crosby put a dent into the Capitals’ lead by walking from the far boards to the top of the dot to fire a wrist shot through the right arm of Semyon Varlamov for his league-leading 48th goal of the season and team-best 13th power-play marker. Washington 2, Pittsburgh 1.

The Capitals needed less than 20 seconds to answer Crosby’s tally as a Washington dump-in went all the way around the boards before deflecting off a Penguin and landing right onto the stick of Tomas Fleischmann. He snapped a shot past the blocker of Fleury into the upper corner of the cage. Washington 3, Pittsburgh 1.

Jordan Leopold got the Penguins back into the contest as he took a pass at the right point from Crosby and sent a slap shot off two Capitals before it drifted just through the legs of Varlamov to get the Penguins back within one. Washington 3, Pittsburgh 2.

Late goals are a killer, and Washington received one when former Penguin Matt Bradley skated hard to the top of the crease and deflected a Quintin Laing pass between the pads of Brent Johnson for his 10th goal of the season. Washington 4, Pittsburgh 2.

The Penguins tallied an early goal of their own as Pascal Dupuis dropped a pass to Leopold in the high slot. Leopold ripped a slap shot past Varlamov for his career-high 10th goal of the season and second goal of the game. Washington 4, Pittsburgh 3.

The Capitals took advantage of a faceoff win by Nicklas Backstrom as Alex Ovechkin picked up the loose puck at the top of the near circle and beat Johnson to the glove hand for his 47th goal of the season. Washington 5, Pittsburgh 3.

Ovechkin added his 48th goal of the season, tying him with Crosby for the league lead, when he tossed a shot into the empty cage with less than a second remaining in regulation. Washington 6, Pittsburgh 3.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
The Penguins received bad news just prior to faceoff as forward Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch due to illness. It was the eighth game Malkin has missed in the past 10 games. Chris Kunitz was also held out by head coach Dan Bylsma as a result of an undisclosed injury. Pittsburgh went with seven defensemen against the Capitals as veteran Jay McKee returned to the lineup. Maxime Talbot began the game in Malkin’s spot between Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bill Guerin.

Head coach Dan Bylsma made a goaltending change following the Capitals’ third goal, replacing Marc-Andre Fleury, who had surrendered three goals on 12 shots, with Brent Johnson. It was Johnson who picked up the loss despite stopping 13 of the 15 shots he faced as he was between the pipes when Matt Bradley picked up the game-winning goal.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Scoring Summary:
WSH, A. Semin (39), 13:00 1st period: Capitals 1, Penguins 0
WSH, M. Knuble (28), 0:42 2nd period: Capitals 2, Penguins 0
PIT, S. Crosby PP (48), 6:21 2nd period: Capitals 2, Penguins 1
WSH, T. Fleischmann (23), 6:42 2nd period: Capitals 3, Penguins 1
PIT, J. Leopold (9), 9:55 2nd period: Capitals 3, Penguins 2
WSH, M. Bradley (10), 18:00 2nd period: Capitals 4, Penguins 2
PIT, J. Leopold (10), 0:49 3rd period: Capitals 4, Penguins 3
WSH, A. Ovechkin PP (47), 2:37 3rd period: Capitals 5, Penguins 3
WSH, A. Ovechkin (48), 19:59 3rd period: Capitals 6, Penguins 3

> Pittsburgh fell to 45-27-7 on the season with 97 points, and a 24-12-4 mark at Mellon Arena. The Penguins trail the New Jersey Devils by two points in the race for the Atlantic Division crown.

> The Penguins are now 31-4-3 at home in the month of March/April since the 2006-07 season. Pittsburgh is 6-2-1 this March/April.

> Pittsburgh is 9-5-3 since the Olympic break.

> All-time under head coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are 63-30-11; and 34-13-5 at home.

> Sidney Crosby notched his fourth career 100-point campaign when he helped set up Jordan Leopold’s third-period goal. For the season Crosby has picked up 48 goals and 52 assists, both team highs. His 48 goals are tied with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead, although Crosby has one game in hand. Crosby sits third in the NHL scoring race, six points behind co-leader Ovechkin and Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin. Crosby is also just three points shy of hitting 500 for his career.

> Jordan Leopold collected his first two-goal game since Nov. 1, 2003. Leopold has picked up three goals over his past two games and six points (3G-3A) over his past six games. Leopold also established a new career high with his 10th goal of the season.

> Sergei Gonchar picked up an assist on Crosby’s goal to give him three points (1G-2A) over his last two games and five points (2G-3A) over his past seven contests.

> Alex Goligoski earned a helper on Leopold’s second-period tally, giving him three assists over the past two games.
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
1. A.Semin
2. N.Backstrom
3. J.Leopold
“It's nice to contibute in some way. We would have
liked to be on the other side of thigns with the
win and two points. It was not the case
tonight.”
- Jordan Leopold

Author: Jason Seidling

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