NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Washington
(Wednesday, March 24th)
Final Score: Washington 4, Pittsburgh 3 (SO)
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Mike Knuble netted the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout, as the Washington Capitals edged the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, at Verizon Center.
The first two participants for Pittsburgh in the shootout -- Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby -- beat Washington goaltender Jose Theodore, who turned away Bill Guerin before Alexander Semin lifted a backhander over the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury to extend the extra segment.
After Theodore denied Chris Kunitz, Knuble beat Fleury over the shoulder.
Semin and Eric Fehr scored two minutes apart in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit for Washington, which matched the franchise record for points in a season with 108, set last year.
Theodore, who finished with 39 saves, improved to 17-0-2 since January 13.
The Capitals are closing in on the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 17-point lead over Pittsburgh. The Southeast Division champs are also nine points ahead of Chicago in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.
Jordan Staal tied the game for Pittsburgh with 3:06 left in regulation, gathering a pass from Kunitz and picking the top left corner of the net.
Guerin and Maxime Talbot had the other goals for the Penguins, who are 2-3-3 over their last eight games after coming out of the Olympic break with four straight wins.
Despite the shootout loss, the point earned allows Pittsburgh to move ahead of New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils had pulled into a tie with their win on Tuesday.
"We responded when things didn't go well and stuck with our game," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma.
Fleury stopped 29 shots.
The Capitals opened the scoring 69 seconds into the second period. Nicklas Backstrom's one-timer from the slot went off Fleury, bounced high in the air and landed in the crease behind the Pittsburgh goaltender. Knuble was behind Fleury and managed to stuff the puck into the open cage.
Pittsburgh answered 72 seconds later when Brooks Orpik's blast from the point deflected in off Talbot, who was positioned outside the blue paint.
Washington's Tomas Fleischmann tripped Letang in the neutral zone, giving the Penguins an opportunity to seize the lead on the power play. Guerin took a no- look, backhand pass from Crosby and fired it home with 5:21 to play in the middle frame.
While killing a penalty, Semin picked off a pass in his own zone and beat Fleury over the glove with a sizzling wrister at 5:36 of the third. Moments later, Fehr tipped a Mike Green slap shot to give Washington the lead.
"We were down going into the third, but I knew we thought we could win," said Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Washington has won all three meetings against Pittsburgh this season...The Penguins fell to 7-2 in shootouts...Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin missed his second straight game and fourth in the last five because of a sore right foot...An illness kept Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar out of the lineup...Washington was without the services of center Brooks Laich, who took a shot in the face at practice on Tuesday.
03/25 01:27:47 ET