Pens powerless against Ovechkin
WASHINGTON -- The Penguins erased any worries about weary travel by racing to a three-goal lead Sunday against a rival in their building.
Then the power play let the Penguins down again, and Alex Ovechkin brought his Washington Capitals back for a 5-4 overtime victory at Verizon Center.
"They've got a great offense, and we allowed them to use it there," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Especially in the second half after we got that lead. We didn't have that instinct to keep going and finish them off. We let them hang around, and they were going to get their chances.
"I don't think we really sat back, but we didn't get that fifth one. We didn't go out there thinking to get that one. Maybe we were just trying to run the clock too much."
Ovechkin had three goals, including two in the final period, and assisted on the game-winner 2:49 into overtime as Washington won its 14th straight game despite two goals each by Crosby and Jordan Staal.
Mike Knuble tucked the rebound of Ovechkin's shot between Marc-Andre Fleury's legs. The goal came with the Capitals on the power play after Brooks Orpik was sent to the box for high-sticking Alexander Semin.
A noticeably upset Orpik felt Semin embellished the play.
"He's a baby," Orpik said. "I don't know (if it was a high stick), but he does that all game long. I got zero respect for the kid. Yeah, it is tough to lose on that."
The Penguins had a chance to win the game in regulation when Jeff Schultz was whistled for slashing Matt Cooke, but the Penguins did not take advantage. They also failed to score on a 60-second two-man advantage and finished the game 1 for 6 on the power play.
"We've got to find a way to help our team out there," Crosby said.
Crosby gave the Penguins an early lead with a pair of first-period goals. He intercepted a clearing attempt near the left wall and deked past two defensemen in front of the net before slipping a backhand past Jose Theodore at 6:59.
Three minutes later, Evgeni Malkin extended his point streak to 10 games by connecting with Crosby on a perfect no-look pass on the power play. Crosby was alone to the right of Theodore and deked to his forehand for his 39th goal of the season and 15th in his past 15 games.
After Ovechkin scored on a breakaway midway through the second period, Staal extended the lead with two goals in 84 seconds. Tyler Kennedy centered the puck to him at the top of the crease for the first goal, and Malkin set up the other by picking off a pass from Tom Poti to start a 2-on-1 and feeding Staal near the left post at 13:07 to make it 4-1.
Eric Fehr scored before the second intermission to bring Washington within 4-2 when he went around Jay McKee and collected his own rebound at 17:12.
Ovechkin leveled the score with back-to-back goals to start the final period. He struck at 6:51 when he backhanded a loose puck from the slot past Fleury and again at 11:06 from the edge of the right circle after Nicklas Backstrom beat Crosby on a faceoff in the Penguins' end.
Crosby had pulled even with Ovechkin atop the NHL leaderboard in goals at 39, but Ovechkin has 42 despite a solid effort by Orpik (six blocked shots) in one-on-one situations.
"He finds a way," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of Ovechkin. "Brooks Orpik always plays against him and always plays him hard. When he's in the zone, he's in the zone and it doesn't matter. Sometimes he doesn't have to dominating between the blue lines, carrying the puck and looking flashy. When you start hitting him and he starts getting into the game and he gets his adrenaline going, then all he needs to do is touch the puck."
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