Penguins 5, Capitals 2

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, longtime fierce rivals in the Atlantic Division, are headed in opposite directions.

Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each had one goal and two assists as the Penguins rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Capitals on Thursday night at Consol Energy Center for their fifth consecutive victory.

While Pittsburgh (8-3-0) leads the division with 16 points, Washington (2-8-1) has an NHL-low five points and has lost three straight games and five of its last six.

Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Matt Cooke also had goals for the Penguins. Chris Kunitz assists on two goals and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots.

Crosby has a point in six straight games and eight assists in the last four games.

The Capitals got goal from Mike Riberio, who also had an assist for his fourth multi-point game in the last seven, and Alex Ovechkin.

The Penguins put the game away with a five-goal barrage in the second period after falling behind 1-0 after one period. Three of the five goals came on power plays and were scored by Malkin, Neal and Crosby.

Pittsburgh was three of six on power plays, making them 6 of 12 in their last three games after a 1-of-18 drought.

Malkin tied the score at 1 at 6:59 as he scored his third goal of the season on a snap shot from the left faceoff circle on a pass from Cosby.

At 12:49, Dupuis hauled in a rolling puck while on a two-on-one rush with Crosby and put wrist shot past Michal Neuvirth for his fourth goal to put Pittsburgh ahead.

In a surprising move, Capitals first-year coach Adam Oates hooked Neuvirth, even thought he had stopped nine of 11 shots. The moves backfired as the Penguins continued its onslaught against Braden Holtby.

Pittsburgh scored two goals in a span of 11 seconds to push its lead to 4-1 at 16:44. Neal backhanded a rebound of a Chris Kunitz shot for his seventh goal and then Cooke scored his second from the left dot off a faceoff won by Brandon Sutter.

Crosby scored with 24 seconds left in the period, tipping in a shot by Malkin for his fifth goal.

Ribeiro opened the scoring for Washington at 4:12 when he lifted a wrist shot over a fallen Fleury for his fourth goal. Officials reviewed the goal and allowed it, ruling that the Capitals' Wojtek Wolski collided with Fleury while the goalie was out of the crease.

The slumping Ovechkin scored just his third goal at 8:34 of the third period, drawing Washington within 5-2.

NOTES: Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang was scratched because of a lower body injury, which he apparently suffered in Tuesday's victory over the Islanders in New York and forced him to leave the morning skate early Thursday. The Penguins provided no further details. ... Washington defenseman John Erskine served the final game of his three-game suspension imposed by the NHL for elbowing Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the face last Friday. ... The Capitals are hopeful that center Brooks Laich can participate in his first full-contract practice next week. He has yet to play this season because of a groin injury suffered while playing in Switzerland during the lockout. ... Defenseman Dylan Reese made his Penguins debut a day after being called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League to take the roster spot of defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who was traded to Anaheim for a fifth-round draft pick in 2014. Reese is a native of Upper St. Clair, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb. ... Centers Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi were healthy scratches for Pittsburgh as were center Mathieu Perreault and defenseman Tom Poti for Washington.