for this game

Neuvirth, Capitals blank Penguins

Feb 7, 2011 - 2:35 AM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Michal Neuvirth turned away 22 shots as Washington slowed down Pittsburgh, 3-0, at Verizon Center.

Neuvirth posted his second career shutout for the Capitals, who have won two straight following a three-game slide.

Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble tallied the goals for the Capitals, who improved to 14-3-1 in Super Bowl Sunday matinees at home since 1988.

"It's my first Super Bowl ever and I am very excited to watch it with the boys," Neuvirth said. "I told myself before the warm-up, I have to shut these guys out tonight."

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots for the Penguins, who had won five straight and eight out of nine coming in.

The Penguins played their first game since Saturday's announcement that center Evgeni Malkin suffered ACL and MCL injuries in Friday's game against Buffalo that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Washington defenseman Mike Green was hit in the face by a slap shot in the waning seconds of the opening period and did not return to the game.

"Everything happened so quick, it was ringing a little bit," Green said after the game about getting struck by the Brooks Orpik blast. "Once it went away, I was fine. I was a little off-balance when I came off the ice but I am fine."

The Caps broke through with 1:38 left in the opening stanza.

Mathieu Perreault passed from the left half-wall back to the same point for John Erskine, who delivered a slap shot that Fleury stopped. However, the rebound was there for Laich to backhand past the netminder, while falling, from the right doorstep.

The hosts added to their lead four minutes into the middle session when Johansson picked up the puck at his own blue line after a turnover and streaked up the middle of the ice. He moved right and deftly backhanded a shot from the slot high to the far side to beat Fleury for his first short-handed tally of the year.

Knuble scored into an empty net with 43.6 ticks left in the game to sew up the victory.

"We had our spurts but we didn't gain enough offensive zone time to make a difference," said Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal. "Neuvirth played well but we didn't get enough shots on net and create enough traffic in front of him."

Game Notes

The Capitals have won seven straight home games on Super Bowl Sunday...Knuble has 30 career goals against the Pens, his most versus any team...He has a goal in seven straight and a point in 11 in a row against Pittsburgh...Johansson is the first Capitals rookie to notch a short-handed goal since Alex Ovechkin did it three times in 2005-06...The Caps have killed off 35 of their last 37 short-handed situations, including both in this game...Laich leads the Caps in first-period goals with five, first goals of the game with four and his team's first goal of the game with six...Washington has recorded a point in 11 in a row (9-0-2) against the Pens...Fleury fell to 9-5-2 in 17 games against Washington...Sunday marked the third time the Penguins have played on the same day as a Steelers playoff game since Mike Tomlin took over as their head coach in 2007...The Pens are 2-1 in those games, while the Steelers have split their first two contests.