The Capitals defeated the Penguins 6-1 at Crosby’s Return
Washington – With three of its best offensive players out, the Washington Capitals are still at the top of the DC division.
Even Sidney Crosby’s return couldn’t help Pittsburgh keep up.
Garnet Hathaway scored his third goal in two games, Alex Ovechkin added assists, and the Capitals defeated the Penguins 6-1 on Sunday night in Crosby’s first game. Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin are back from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, but Washington easily won their fourth game in a row.
Crosby went without a point in 16:57 of icy time. This was only his second game of the season. In addition to his COVID-related absence, he also missed his first seven games after off-season surgery.
“It’s his second game in five or six months, so I think we have to understand where he is,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, who is also back on the team from the COVID-19 protocol. It just passed. I thought he played really hard tonight under really tough conditions.”
Martin Ferrary, Danielle Sprung, Conor Sherry, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson also scored goals for Washington, who topped even the Carolinas at the top of the division. The capitals are also behind Florida by a point for the NHL lead.
Washington continues to win despite being without Niklas Backstrom, TJ O’Shea and Anthony Mantha.
“They are leaders in our room, and when they come out, you just try to make them proud,” Wilson said. “You try to work as hard as you can to fight for them. They did it for me, they did it for other guys when we were watching.”
Jake Goetzel scored in the first half for Pittsburgh after his team trailed 2-0. Washington then got second-half goals from previous Penguins.
With Washington leading 2-1, Dumoulin lost the disc near the blue line. Lars Eller skated, patiently waited for Pittsburgh’s Chris Letang, then fed Sprung over the opposite threshold to score his third goal of the season.
“If I’m in the lineup, I feel I should play a little better,” Dumoulin said. “Obviously in this third goal, this is a goal I would like to take back, especially so late in this period.”
Sherry, who was among the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup-winning Penguins, scored 2:35 next to give Washington a 4-1 advantage with 1:24 per second remaining.
Ovechkin found Kuznetsov free in the net in the third half to score his sixth goal of the season. Then Wilson scored in a power game – shortly after Crosby was called in to check on the Washington crowd’s delight.
This was the first time the penguins throughout the season had played the second game of a consecutive game. Saturday night’s game wasn’t much better for Pittsburgh – the 6-3 loss in Ottawa.
Fehervary opened the scoring with a short goal, taking a pass from Wilson 2-on-1 and beating Tristan Jerry. Washington made it 2-0 when Ovechkin took a long board pass from Trevor van Riemsdyk, then fed across the ice to Hathaway.
Guentzel cut the lead in half with 1:20 left in the first half when he was able to collect the puck in front of the crease and hold the baton around goalkeeper Vitek Vanecek.
Hathaway went goalless in his first 13 games of the season before scoring twice in Washington’s 4-3 win over Columbus on Friday night. Sherri scored a late winner in that game, and these two had multi-point nights against Pittsburgh.
During the first hiatus, Ovechkin received a standing ovation from the audience and a message from Brett Hull was played on the video screen. Ovechkin scored his 742nd goal on Friday, surpassing Hull for fourth place on the NHL career list.
The Capitals signed striker Nic Dowd to a three-year deal worth $3.9 million before the game. Dodd sustained a lower body injury, although players like Hathaway picked up the slack recently in his absence.
Notes: Fehervary became the first Capitals rookie defensive player to score a short-range goal since Ken Klee in 1995.
Penguins: Buffalo hosts on Tuesday night.
Capitals: In Anaheim on a Tuesday night.
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