The Penguins won their fifth game in a row, 5-2, against the last-place Washington Capitals tonight at Consol Energy Center.
Washington got the only goal of the first period.
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was tangled with the Capitals' Wojtek Wolski in front of the Penguins net, and Orpik's stick knocked the mask off of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The goalie went sprawling and was not able to react to Mike Ribeiro's shot from above the right circle, making it 1-0 at 4:12.
The Penguins broke open the game in the second period.
Evgeni Malkin tied it, 1-1, with a power-play goal at 6:59 on a wicked shot from the left dot that went into the top far corner, over the glove of Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
At 12:29 of the second period, Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby had a short two-on-one against the Capitals' Mike Green. Crosby got a pass through to Dupuis, who chopped a bouncing puck past Neuvirth to make it 2-1.
At that point, Washington coach Adam Oates pulled Neuvirth and replaced him with Braden Holtby.
James Neal scored a slick goal, also on the power play, at 16:33 of the second period to push the Penguins' lead to 3-1. He took a pass down low from Chris Kunitz, skated along the top of the crease and slid in a backhander.
Just 11 seconds later, the Penguins went ahead, 4-1, on a goal off of a faceoff. Brandon Sutter won the draw back to Matt Cooke, who blasted the puck from the top of the left circle into the far side of the net.
Sidney Crosby got the Penguins another power-play goal with 21.2 seconds left in the second period. Holtby stopped a shot by Malkin, but the puck popped up. Crosby batted it out of the air into an open half of the net to make it 5-1.
Washington pulled to within 5-2 at 8:34 of the third period when Alex Ovechkin rifled a shot from the left dot.
The Penguins next play Saturday afternoon at New Jersey.
Shelly Anderson: email@example.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly. First Published February 8, 2013 2:45 AM