Penguins blow lead, lost to Capitals in overtime

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WASHINGTON -- The Penguins blew a three-goal lead and fell to the surging Washington Capitals, 5-4, in overtime today at the Verizon Center.

Mike Knuble scored at 2:49 of overtime on a power play to win it for the Capitals.

The Penguins lost for the second time in two days, while the Capitals -- aided by an Alex Ovechkin hat trick -- extended their club-record winning streak to 14 games and won their 11th in a row at home.

The record for consecutive wins is 17, set by the 1992-93 Penguins.

Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal each scored twice for the Penguins.

The Penguins were playing their second game in less than 24 hours and after an arduous trip to snow-socked Washington from Montreal that involved flying to Newark, N.J., then taking a bus to Washington and arriving after 2 a.m.

Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 6:59 of the first period with an unassisted goal. He picked off a Washington clearing attempt near the left point by kicking the puck up to his stick, moved in on the Washington net and slipped the puck under goaltender Jose Theodore.

Crosby struck again at 9:59 of the first period, this time with a power-play goal.

As defenseman Sergei Gonchar brought the puck up through the neutral zone, he made a spin move and passed to Alex Goligoski at the left point. Goligoski sent a nice touch pass to Evgeni Malkin, who found Crosby alone on the right side. Crosby beat Theodore on the far side to make it 2-0.

Washington closed the gap to 2-1 at 9:01 of the second period. Jeff Schultz, from his own slot, set up Ovechkin on a breakaway. Ovechkin caught up with the puck in the Penguins' slot and slammed the puck under Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury so hard it knocked parts off of the in-goal camera NBC was using.

Staal got the next two goals, starting with a tip-in at 11:43 of the second period that was followed by a large scrum behind the Penguins net.

Staal scored again 1:24 later, giving the Penguins a 4-1 lead at 13:07 of the second period. He converted a feed from Malkin, who had intercepted a pass by the Capitals' Tom Poti for a short two-on-two with Staal.

Washington's Eric Fehr scored on his own rebound as he drove in from the left wall to make it 4-2 at 17:12 of the second period.

The Capitals tied the game, 4-4, as Ovechkin got his hat trick in the third period. He scored from the lower portion of the left circle on a rebound at 6:51, then scored from the top of the same circle off a faceoff won by Nicklas Backstrom at 6:51 for his NHL-leading 42nd goal and 85th point.

The Penguins play Wednesday at home against the New York Islanders.


Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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