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Penguins 2, Capitals 0

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- It was the 22nd time that Pittsburgh Penguins centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovchekin all suited up in the same regular season game Tuesday. It was also the 100th time in franchise history that the Penguins defeated the Capitals in a regular season game, taking the return leg of a home-and-home 2-0 to earn a sweep of games on back-to-back nights, the latest being at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday night.

It was the Penguins' eighth consecutive win over the Capitals, sweeping the season series the past two seasons. In fact, the last time the Capitals defeated the Penguins was more than two years ago --Jan. 11, 2012. It was also Washington's fifth loss in its last six games.

If the Penguins and Capitals were tired after Monday's tilt, they did not show it in the first period as they played from 39 seconds into the game until 5:36 left in the first without a whistle.

Several stoppages and just over two minutes later, the Penguins got on the board first when left winger Jussi Jokinen redirected a wrist shot from the point off the stick of defenseman Matt Niskanen. The deflected puck snuck through the five hole of Washington goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

After recording just 20 shots in Monday's game, the Penguins took a robust 13 shots in the first, more than doubling the Capitals six.

The Penguins appeared poised to take a 2-0 lead at 11:46 of the second when right winger Lee Stempniak batted a puck out of mid-air toward an open net, but the puck rang off of the crossbar. Minutes later, the Capitals caught some iron of their own when newcomer from the KHL, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, knocked a rebound off the left post.

The shots on goal in the second period mirrored that of the first, 13-6 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Crosby got Pittsburgh's second goal at 14:12 of the third when he broke in on a two-on-one with left winger Chris Kunitz. Crosby elected to shoot from the right faceoff dot, beating Halak with a hard wrist shot past his stick side. The goal, his 31st, increased Crosby's lead in the NHL's overall points lead, giving him 88 points on the season.

The Capitals had a chance to make a game of it while working on a power play with less than four minutes left, but Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury came up strong. Overall, Fleury made 33 saves to earn his league-leading 34th victory and fifth shutout. Halak made 32 saves in defeat.

NOTES: Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to five games. ... Prior to the game, the Capitals recalled F Casey Wellman and D Patrick Wey from AHL Hershey. ... Penguins C Brandon Sutter and RW James Neal are one and two games, respectively, shy of 400 for their careers. ... The Penguins scratched D Deryk Engelland and C Joe Vitale. Scratches for the Capitals were Wey, D John Erskine (upper body) and C Brooks Laich (groin). The Penguins play the Flyers on Saturday in Philadelphia. The Capitals play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. ... The official attendance was 18,646, Pittsburgh's 316th consecutive sellout.
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