Crosby propels Penguins to sixth straight win

WASHINGTON (Ticker) — Captain Sidney Crosby scored the only
goal in the shootout Sunday as the surging Pittsburgh Penguins
defeated the Washington Capitals, 4-3, for their sixth straight

Crosby, who also opened the scoring 4:29 into the contest, beat
goaltender Jose Theodore with a wrist shot underneath the
crossbar during the second round of the bonus format.

The game-winner completed a 5-0-0 road trip for the Penguins,
who prevailed despite squandering a 3-1 lead in the first two
minutes of the third period.

“It’s been a long trip for us, but we wanted to get the two
points after working hard, especially for two periods,” Crosby

“We had some power plays, we just weren’t able to capitalize. If
we let them hang around and don’t take advantage of those
chances, they are going to get momentum.”

Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 28 saves, then
stopped Alexander Semin, Viktor Kozlov and reigning Hart Trophy
winner Alex Ovechkin in the shootout.

The Penguins improved to 8-1-1 under Dan Bylsma, the best
10-game start for any coach in Pittsburgh history.

“The whole road trip was just the way we drew it up,” Bylsma
said. “We talked about this before the game. We’ve seen our guys
deal with giving up leads in tough buildings.”

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The win left five teams virtually tied in the tightly bunched
Eastern Conference race. With 76 points, the Penguins (35-26-6)
tied Florida and the New York Rangers for fifth in the East –
one point ahead of Montreal and Carolina.

Ovechkin began the Capitals’ comeback with his 47th goal of the
season on the power play just 29 seconds into the third period.

“We have to look at this game as a positive because I think
we’re on our way back up,” said Capitals center Brooks Laich,
whose breakaway goal tied the contest 78 seconds into the third.

“We got back to working and tightened up defensively. I think we
gave them 20-21 shots (actually, 22). When we were losing, we
were giving up 34-36. I thought we did a better job. We
controlled their top guys.”

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar and recently acquired Bill Guerin
tallied in the second period to give Pittsburgh its two-goal

“I don’t think we lost focus,” Crosby added. “They played well.
We just had to come up with some big plays defensively.”