PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon.
Evgeni Malkin scored just 1:31 into overtime to help the Penguins earn a valuable two points in the standings.
The game started out great for the Penguins, who held a 2-0 lead early in the first period.
While on the power play, Kris Letang held the puck in the offensive zone on a failed clearing attempt by the Capitals.
Letang worked his way to the center of the ice and ripped a shot by Michal Neuvirth to put Pittsburgh up 1-0 just 4:51 into the game.
About a minute later, James Neal would put the Penguins up 2-0.
Malkin won an offensive zone faceoff back to Neal, who fooled Neuvirth with the quick shot for his 25th goal of the season.
The Penguins controlled the first period and took a 2-0 lead to the locker room.
However, the Capitals would come out in the second period and take back the momentum.
During 4-on-4 play, Pascal Dupuis broke his stick in the defensive zone. The Capitals went to work on Dupuis’ side of the ice and eventually worked the puck below the goal line to Marc-Andre Fleury’s left.
Dennis Wideman fed a pass out front to Brooks Laich, who beat Fleury to cut the lead to 2-1.
Just over three minutes later, the Capitals tied the game.
Fleury made a great save on Mathieu Perrault with the left pad, but no Penguins player was there to clear the rebound. Alexander Semin was crashing the net and deposited the puck behind Fleury for his 12th goal of the season.
Pittsburgh was unable to get many chances in the period and were held to just five shots. All of the momentum was with the Capitals and they put it to good use early in the third period.
After Brooks Orpik stepped up at the defensive blue line, Semin and Alex Ovechkin moved in on a 2-on-1.
Semin fed a nice cross-ice pass to Ovechkin who blew the shot by an outstretched Fleury to give the Capitals their first lead of the game.
At that point, Malkin began to take control of the game.
About seven minutes into the third, Malkin carried a puck into the offensive zone and into a crowd of Capitals. After getting knocked down, he got up, won the puck back in the corner and fed Neal in the right faceoff circle.
Neal moved the puck to his forehand and beat Neuvirth with a top-shelf shot to the near side to tie the game 3-3.
The goal seemed to wake the Penguins up, but Neuvirth stood tall to force overtime. However, the Capitals nearly won the game with under a minute to go when a s slap shot beat Fleury and rang off the post and out of danger.
In overtime, Neal’s shot from the point missed the net and came out to Malkin waiting on the other side. Malkin quickly gathered it and flipped it by Neuvirth to give the Pens the win.
Prior to their current six-game winning streak, the team was mired in a six-game losing streak that dropped them briefly out of the playoff picture.
Now, the Penguins have climbed back to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and are just two points behind the Flyers and Senators. (Note: Philadelphia plays Boston Sunday afternoon.)
The Penguins will look to extend their streak to seven games when they host the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
Tuesday’s game will mark the final game before the All-Star Break for the Penguins.