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Ovechkin, Capitals overpower Penguins

Feb 23, 2009 - 4:47 AM
WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals exposed the Pittsburgh Penguins' suspect defense.

Ovechkin scored his league-high 43rd goal of the season and outplayed rival Sidney Crosby, sparking the Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Penguins on Sunday.

While Washington continued its dominance at home (24-5-1), the Capitals suddenly are creeping up on Eastern Conference-leading Boston.

Catching Boston seemed impossible two weeks ago, but Washington (38-17-5) has climbed within seven points of the Bruins (40-12-8), who have lost five of their last six to allow the Capitals to get within striking distance.

"We are growing up like a team," Ovechkin said. "We beat good teams. I think we played all three periods tonight. We played well on the power play, penalty kill. We just didn't give them any chances."

Ovechkin only had one goal Sunday - a power-play tally that opened the scoring 6:53 into the first period - but he also picked up an assist and put on a dazzling show with a game-high nine shots in a fast-paced, physical contest.

The reigning Hart Trophy winner helped the Capitals break open the game in the second period when the Penguins were frequently caught running around in their own zone.

"They played yesterday in a very physical game (a 5-4 win at Philadelphia)," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We thought if they kept attacking, they would tire. Teams tire in second games of back-to-backs."

Shaone Morrisonn and Brooks Laich scored 25 seconds apart to give Washington a 5-2 lead with 6:39 left in the second period and chase Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Penguins lost in regulation for the first time in four games under interim coach Dan Bylsma (2-1-1) and fell to 0-3-0 this season against the Capitals.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar's power-play goal pulled Pittsburgh within 3-2 just 4:46 into the second, but Fleury allowed a pair of soft goals later in the period. He stopped Ovechkin's blast from the slot but yielded a deep rebound. Morrison snared the puck outside the left circle and fired in into the net.

"They're skilled, and they come with a strong forecheck, and force mistakes," Crosby said. "I think early on, we got behind on special teams. We had our opportunities after that."

Fleury, who surrendered five goals on 20 shots in 33:11, found himself on the bench after he allowed Laich's bad-angle shot from behind the net to sneak between his pads.

Crosby, who scored twice in Saturday's win, was limited to one assist and three shots Sunday. He has been held without a goal in the three games against Washington this season.

Pittsburgh also struggled with the man advantage, converting just one of its eight power-play opportunities. Washington was 2-for-3 on the power play.

"We played well yesterday and got a big win," Crosby added. "We came in here, worked hard today, didn't have some things go our way. We move on."

Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov also scored for Washington, which will look to complete a four-game sweep of the season series when they host the Penguins again on March 8.

"We've won three (in a row against them)," Boudreau said. "I don't think it's changing unless we won seven or eight in a row against them. With those two guys (Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, it's going to be tough to do."

Ovechkin, who had a 10-game points streak snapped in Friday's 4-1 loss to Colorado, has nine goals and 11 assists in 15 career games against the Penguins.

"We lost and we played terrible against Colorado," Ovechkin said. "We didn't play our game. We didn't play our system, and we tried to play cute. We scored one goal. Tonight, we played simple and played our system with energy and our four lines played awesome tonight."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 0 2
    WASHINGTON 2 3 0 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 43 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, SERGEI
    FEDOROV) 6:53
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 8 (MARK EATON, BROOKS ORPIK) 12:08
    WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE
    GREEN) 13:02
    2ND PRD: WAS - SERGEI F

    Feb 22 2:57 PM
  • 30
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Penguins 2, Capitals 5  3rd - 11:45Feb 22 2:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 2
    WASHINGTON 2 3 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 43 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, SERGEI
    FEDOROV) 6:53
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 8 (MARK EATON, BROOKS ORPIK) 12:08
    WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE
    GREEN) 13:02
    2ND PRD: W

    Feb 22 2:05 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    WASHINGTON 5
    2ND PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 14 (BRIAN POTHIER, SHAONE MORRISONN) 13:21

    Penguins 2, Capitals 5  2nd - 6:39Feb 22 1:53 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    WASHINGTON 4
    2ND PRD: WAS - SHAONE MORRISONN 3 (ALEX OVECHKIN, ERIC FEHR) 12:56

    Penguins 2, Capitals 4  2nd - 7:04Feb 22 1:53 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    WASHINGTON 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 2 (SIDNEY CROSBY, EVGENI MALKIN)
    4:46

    Penguins 2, Capitals 3  2nd - 15:14Feb 22 1:38 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    2ND PRD: WAS - SERGEI FEDOROV 6 (ALEXANDER SEMIN) 0:56

    Penguins 1, Capitals 3  2nd - 19:04Feb 22 1:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1
    WASHINGTON 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 43 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, SERGEI
    FEDOROV) 6:53
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 8 (MARK EATON, BROOKS ORPIK) 12:08
    WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE
    GREEN) 13:02
    SHOTS ON G

    Feb 22 1:12 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 22 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN)
    13:02

    Penguins 1, Capitals 2  1st - 6:58Feb 22 1:01 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 8 (MARK EATON, BROOKS ORPIK) 12:08

    Penguins 1, Capitals 1  1st - 7:52Feb 22 1:00 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 43 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, SERGEI
    FEDOROV) 6:53

    Penguins 0, Capitals 1  1st - 13:07Feb 22 12:48 PM
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