The Penguins lost to the Washington Capitals, 6-3, tonight at Mellon Arena, but might have avoided losing their captain, All-Star center Sidney Crosby, for an extended period of time.
Crosby went to the bench late in the third period appearing to be in a lot of pain and favoring his left leg after he got tangled with Washington center David Steckel and the two went into the boards. He later left the game.
"I don't think its too bad," Crosby said afterward. "W'll see tomorrow.
"I haven't seen [the replay], but it felt pretty bad. Hopefully, all goes well."
Crosby had two assists to give him 59 points.
Although most seats were filled for the team's 87th consecutive sellout and a crowd of 16,975 was announced, many fans were late arriving because of weather-related traffic snarls.
Last night, the Penguins had broken a two-game losing streak and a skid of seven losses in eight games with a 4-2 win at Philadelphia. Tonight's game was the first of four home games in a row leading into the All-Star break.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin's power-play goal on a shot from the right point made it 1-0 at 5:45 of the first period.
One expected subplot was Malkin playing against Washington winger Alex Ovechkin. The two Russians and former friends reportedly had a falling out, leaving to Ovechkin taking several runs at Malkin in recent meetings between the teams.
Ovechkin seemed to restrain from such activity, but Malkin hit Ovechkin a few times, including leveling him beside the Penguins net late in the first period, which landed Malkin in the penalty box for interference.
During the ensuing Capitals power play, Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi dove to block a shot by point man Mike Green and ended up leaving with a cut on his upper face.
The teams traded goals in the second period, starting with center Viktor Kozlov's shot from the slot that bounced in off Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's left arm to tie it, 1-1, at 1:06.
The Penguins regained the lead, 2-1, when winger Miroslav Satan swept a rebound past goaltender Jose Theodore at 8:33. It the 350th goal of Satan's career.
The Capitals tied it again, 2-2, when winger Alexander Semin converted a nice cross-slot feed from center Sergei Fedorov at 12:40.
Ovechkin batted in his own rebound for a power-play goal at 1:48 of the third period to give Washington its first lead, 3-2.
The Penguins produced the third tie of the game on defenseman Ryan Whitney's blast from the left point. It was the first goal of the season for Whitney, who was playing in his 12th game after offseason foot surgery.
The Capitals swung it back their way at 7:07 of the third when Tomas Fleischmann dove for a loose puck in front of Fleury and scored from his belly during a power play at 8:11.
Ovechkin struck again to give Washington a 5-3 lead at 11:27 when his shot from the right dot went in off Whitney's skate, and center Nicklas Backstrom polished it off at 11:27.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.