Penguins fall to Washington, 5-2

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WASHINGTON -- Washington defeated the Penguins, 5-2, at the Verizon Center this afternoon.

The defeat snapped the Penguins' two-game winning streak, dropped their record to 29-26-6 and kept them four points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead during a power play at 6:53 of the opening period, as be stuck a high shot behind Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from below the left dot for his league-leading 43rd of the season.

That goal gave Washington at least one during the first period of 12 consecutive games.

Max Talbot pulled the Penguins into a short-lived tie at 12:08, when he punched a Mark Eaton rebound past Capitals goalie Jose Theodore, but Washington reclaimed the lead on another man-advantage goal 54 seconds later.

Alexander Semin, who was alone in front of the Penguins' net, scored it after Nicklas Backstrom got the puck along the left-wing boards and slipped it past the four-man contingent of Penguins that had descended on that part of the ice.

Washington went up, 3-1, 56 seconds into the second, when Semin got the puck away from Jordan Staal near the right point and fed it to Sergei Fedorov, who drove a slap shot past Fleury from the slot. The Penguins subsequently squandered a five-on-three power play that lasted 55 seconds, generating just one shot on goal, but Sergei Gonchar made it=2 03-2 before Washington got back to full strength. He lashed a slap shot by Theodore from the top of the left circle for his second in five games since returning from surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin received assists. The Capitals, though, took complete control of the game with two goals in a span of 25 seconds just past the midpoint of the period. Defenseman Shaone(cq) Morrisonn(cq) beat Fleury from the outer edge of the left circle at 12:56, and Brooks Laich banked a shot off Fleury and into the net from behind the goal line at 13:21 to remove any suspense about the outcome.

Laich's goal prompted Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to replace Fleury, who allowed five goals on 20 shots, with Mathieu Garon. The Penguins, 2-1-1 since Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien as coach a week ago, are off until Wednesday, when they will face the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena.

Empty Netters: Postgame analysis with the PG's Seth Rorabaugh, plus your comments

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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