Ovechkin scores as Capitals hold on to top Crosby, Penguins
Ovechkin and Crosby faced off for the 67th time in the regular season. Crosby finished with a goal and an assist, but Washington held on after racing out to a 4-0 lead.
“I think we came out, we were playing really well,” Tom Wilson said of the Capitals’ first period. “Maybe one of our best periods of the year. We made it a little harder on ourselves that we probably needed to.”
It was the 10th time that Ovechkin and Crosby scored in the same game, and first since a Capitals win on Nov. 7, 2018.
Ovechkin got his eighth of the season and No. 830 for his career, which is 65 from passing Wayne Gretzky’s league record of 894 goals.
The Russian winger also surpassed Ray Bourque for the seventh-most points by a player with one franchise in NHL history. Ovechkin made it 4-0, but it was his 126th game-winning goal, which is nine from Jaromir Jagr’s NHL record.
Crosby scored his 21st of the season, a power-play goal in the second period. He has 1,540 points, passing Joe Thornton for 12th on the NHL’s career points list.
“It’s never good when you lose,” Crosby said. “I don’t think everyone is feeling good about getting three and making it 4-3. You want to win divisional games and make sure you get those points and we didn’t do that.”
“I loved our compete level and climbing back into the hockey game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We certainly made it a game, but we can’t spot a team those types of goals early on.”
The Capitals scored more than two goals in regulation for the first time since Dec. 14. Washington improved to 17-0-5 when scoring two or more goals and 11-1-6 in games decided by one goal.
Wilson stopped an eight-game goal drought just 55 seconds into the first period, converting a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The Capitals are 10-1-2 when scoring first this season.
Malenstyn made it 2-0 at 11:16 when his centering pass off the rush hit Ryan Graves’ stick and deflected over Jarry’s shoulder.
Fehervary chased Jarry and made it 3-0 just 1:46 later with a soft wrist shot from the high slot. Pittsburgh had one shot on goal at that point.
Chad Ruhwedel appeared to score for Pittsburgh with 3:27 to play in the first, but the goal was overturned after a successful challenge for offsides.
Rakell scored at 19:56 after Ovechkin’s power-play goal.
Crosby set up Guentzel at 18:54 of the second, making it a 4-3 game, but the Capitals were able to hang on for the win.
“Give our guys credit, the second period was a disaster, for lack of a better term,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “But we still had 20 minutes to go and we were protecting a lead, so we got back to doing things that you need to do to win games in this league.”
Capitals: Host New Jersey on Wednesday.
Penguins: Visit Boston on Thursday.
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