NHL Game Summary - Washington at Pittsburgh
(Thursday, December 27th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Washington 3 (OT)
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Sergei Gonchar scored 1:33 into overtime to beat his former team as the Pittsburgh Penguins continued their domination of the Capitals with a 4-3 win over Washington at Mellon Arena.
Sidney Crosby set up the play, as he skated with the puck along the crease's edge from right to left, and dished a backhanded pass into the right circle. Gonchar was there to one-time a shot past Olaf Kolzig's glove, as the goaltender was out of position from following Crosby's movement.
Gonchar previously spent 10 seasons with Washington, from the 1994-95 campaign to 2003-04. Crosby finished with two assists, and Darryl Sydor and Colby Armstrong each had a goal and assist for the Penguins, who have won two in a row. Ty Conklin stopped 22 shots in the win, as the Penguins beat Washington for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings.
"Sometimes when you're not playing your best game, and you're getting those points, and all the points count, it doesn't matter if it's now or in April," Gonchar said. "It's two points for us and we're happy we got them."
Nicklas Backstrom had two assists, and Alexander Ovechkin scored for Washington, which has dropped four of five. Kolzig made 16 saves in relief of Brent Johnson, who stopped seven shots before leaving the game with a sprained left knee late in the first period. Each goaltender allowed two goals.
Down by a 2-1 score heading into the second period, the Capitals scored a pair of goals to take the lead for the first time in the contest. Just 5:23 into the stanza, Brian Pothier ripped a shot from above the right circle, which beat Conklin five-hole.
Ovechkin then scored with 1:34 left in the period on a shot from between the circles, giving Washington a 3-2 lead.
But shortly into the third period, Ovechkin had to leave the game to repair a cut on his leg. The injury wasn't serious, but he didn't return to the game.
"It took the doctor so long to get down here, we couldn't get him back on the ice," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He got a couple of stitches, but it is something you have to get done."
Even with their leading scorer out, it appeared as though the Capitals would hang on, especially after Kolzig fended off a flurry of Pittsburgh shots with about 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
But with 2:16 left, Sydor tied the game off a power-play faceoff, on a blast from the inside edge of the left circle. The puck hit Washington defenseman Milan Jurcina on the way to the net, leaving Kolzig little chance for a save. It was Sydor's first goal of the season, and sent the game into overtime.
The Penguins opened the scoring just over 12 minutes into the game, on Jeff Taffe's first goal of the season, a top-shelf shot from the left circle.
Washington briefly tied the game up with 4:36 left in the first period, as Donald Brashear one-timed a centering pass from Boyd Gordon, who had recovered a turnover behind the Penguins net.
But Pittsburgh reclaimed the lead on a fluky goal with 2:07 left in the period, when Ryan Whitney's shot from above the right circle went through Johnson's pads and leaked out to the left of the crease. Armstrong got to the disc and fired an off-target backhander on goal, but the puck deflected off Johnson and over the goal line.
Johnson was also injured on the play, left the game, and was replaced by Kolzig.
The Capitals are 1-10 in their last 11 games at Pittsburgh...Pittsburgh is 2-1 on its current four-game homestand, and wraps it up Saturday against Buffalo.
12/28 01:37:42 ET