Pens Lose to Caps 6-5 in Shootout, But Regain 1st Place

The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered an overtime shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday night in a spirited high scoring affair.  Despite the score, the Penguins were outshot 30-15 by the Capitals and were fortunate to pick up a point on the night to move them back into 1st place in the Atlantic Division.  Goaltender Dany Sabourin started in net for the Penguins, but was chased out after 4-goals in favor of Ty Conklin.  Conklin gave up 1-goal in regulation and 2 in the shootout, which cost the Penguins the additional point.  Evgeni Malkin (2G, 1A), Ryan Malone (1G, 2A) and Sergei Gonchar (3A) all had a great game and picked up 3-points each on the night.

In the 1st period, the Penguins got on the board first with a goal by Max Talbot at 4:30, his 8th on the year, as he walked out from behind the goal line and stuffed one in between Olaf Kolzig’s pads.  Jordan Staal and Erik Christensen were credited with the assists.  At 10:43, the Capitals struck back with a goal by Tomas Fleischmann, with assists by Boyd Gordon and Alexander Semin.  The Capitals found the net again at 16:04 as Viktor Kozlov beat Dany Sabourin.  Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom picked up the assists.  Just 45 seconds later, Evgeni Malkin scored his 25th on the year to even the game at 2-2.  Ryan Malone was credited with the lone assist.  During the period, Alexander Ovechkin rushed in and tried to level Evgeni Malkin as Malkin came around the back of the Caps’ net with the puck.  Ovechkin was only able to clip Malkin and sent himself back first into the boards.  Malkin let him know he didn’t appreciate it by bumping Ovechkin at the end of the shift.  The Penguins were 0-for-2 on the power play, and were outshot 9-6 in the first frame.  Jarkko Ruutu picked up a 2-minute unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the period, giving the Capitals a power play to start the 2nd period.

At the beginning of the 2nd, Washington capitalized on the Ruutu penalty as Alexander Ovechkin chipped the puck past Dany Sabourin at 1:48.  Tomas Fleischmann and Nicklas Backstrom were credited with the assists.  At 3:34, with Washington’s Laich in the penalty box, Evgeni Malkin got his second of the night to tie the game at 3-3.  Ryan Malone and Sergei Gonchar were given assists on the play.  Then at 6:13 with Alexander Semin in the box, Petr Sykora scored a goal on a beautiful cross ice pass from Ryan Whitney to make it 4-3.  Sergei Gonchar got the other assist.  A little over a minute and a half later, Washington tied it again at 4-4 as Alexander Ovechkin picked up his second of the night, with assists by  Nicklas Backstrom and Milan Jurcina.  After the goal, Coach Michel Therrien pulled Dany Sabourin from net in favor of Ty Conklin.  The Penguins were outshot 10-5 in the second, but made hay with their powerplay, going 2-for-3 on the man advantage. 

In the 3rd, the Penguins put the power play to work again as Ryan Malone scored on the man-advantage at 5:04 to make it 5-4.  Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin picked up the assists.  But the lead wouldn’t last as the Caps, operating on the power play with Staal in the box (holding the stick), picked up the tying goal from Viktor Kozlov.  Matt Pettinger and Nicklas Backstrom were credited with the assists.  The Penguins were outshot 11-3 in the 3rd, but managed to hold on to the 5-5 tie to force the overtime.

In the overtime, the Penguins were given a golden opportunity as two Caps players took penalties giving the Penguins a rare 5-on-3 man-advantage in the sudden death.  But the Penguins were unable to score, and only managed 1-shot in the 5-minute overtime to force the shootout.

The Penguins put up Christensen, Letang and Ruutu for the shootout, while the Capitals countered with Kozlov, Ovechkin and Semin.  Kozlov, Christensen and Letang all missed on their shootout attempts.  As the second shooter for the Caps, Ovechkin scored.  Ruutu followed as the Penguins 3rd shooter and scored to keep the Penguins alive.  But Alexander Semin was the final shooter for the Caps and beat Ty Conklin to win the game. 

The Penguins have a few days off before traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers on Thursday night.  The game against the Flyers is their last before the All-Star break. 

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