Crosby gets a pair as Penguins bounce Capitals
A little luck and a little touch gives league MVP 2 goals
Sidney Crosby again got the better of Alex Ovechkin, this time on a fluke goal with 28 seconds to play.
The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the host Washington Capitals 4-2 Sunday, scoring two goals in the final 30 seconds to move within one point of first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
In a crowd in front of the crease and with the score tied 2-2, Washington's Nicklas Backstrom backhanded a loose puck into his own net.
The puck appeared to hit Crosby's skate along the way, giving the reigning league MVP his second goal of the game and 22nd of the season.
"We've been on the other side of that before. Obviously, it's not fun," Crosby said. "It's a big break for us."
Jordan Staal added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining.
Malkin gaining on Ovechkin in scoring race
Evgeni Malkin picked up his third assist on the play, gaining ground on Ovechkin in the NHL scoring race.
Petr Sykora also scored for the Penguins, who are 10-1 against the Capitals when rivals Crosby and Ovechkin are both on the ice.
Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin scored for the Capitals, who have lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since coach Bruce Boudreau was hired on Thanksgiving Day.
"That was officially heartbreaking," Boudreau said. "I feel bad for Nick. He was doing everything that he could and ends up shooting it in his own net."
Washington blew a late one-goal lead to lose 2-1 at Boston on Saturday and remains seven points behind first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division.
Ovechkin assisted on both Washington goals to give him 95 points, three ahead of Malkin.
Ovechkin crushed Malkin along the boards to provide the highlight of a scoreless first period. Then the teams started trading goals in the second.
Laich redirected Semin's slapshot on a power play to open the scoring.
Sykora tied the game with his 22nd goal less than a minute later after a pair of quick passes from Malkin and Jeff Taffe on an odd-man rush, with Sykora able to get off the shot even though Laich had put a stick on the puck.
Sid gets back on the board
Crosby then scored his first goal since returning last week from an ankle injury that cost him 21 games, putting a rebound under goaltender Cristobal Huet's pad to make the score 2-1.
Washington tied the game in the final minute of the second period on a 5-on-3 power play. Having allowed a pair of late 5-on-3 goals in the loss at Boston, the Capitals capitalized on the two-man advantage by passing the puck around to Semin for his 21st goal.
The Capitals outshot the Penguins 33-13 in the first two periods, but Pittsburgh tested Huet often in the third. The goalie had to stretch his left leg as far it could go to stop Staal's shot, and Sergei Gonchar hit the post.