WASHINGTON (AP) – John Carlson and T.J. Oshie scored rare home power-play goals, Braden Holtby became the second-fastest goaltender in NHL history to 200 victories and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 Friday night.
Holtby stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced to pick up victory No. 200 in his 319th game, second only to Hockey Hall of Famer and six-time Stanley Cup winner Ken Dryden, who did it in 311. The only goal he allowed was credited to Phil Kessel but went in off Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.
Chandler Stephenson also scored for the Capitals on a feed from Nicklas Backstrom, who snapped his career-worst point drought at seven games. In his first game on Washington’s top line, Stephenson picked up his fifth point in eight games.
Before Stephenson’s insurance goal 13:42 into the third period and Jakub Vrana’s empty-netter that sealed it, special teams made the difference in this matchup between rivals who met in the second round of the playoffs the past two years. Washington was 2 for 6 on the power play after scoring just twice in 25 opportunities in its first six home games, while Pittsburgh went 0 for 4.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 27 saves. Carlson’s goal at 14:09 of the first period went in off Penguins penalty killer Tom Kuhnhackl, and Oshie’s at 8:26 of the second was a deflection from just outside the crease.
Carlson continued his strong play of late, scoring for the second time in three games after coming up empty in his first 14 and adding an assist. The defenseman led all skaters in ice time at 28:43.
Holtby said it wasn’t his goal to get to 200 victories, but he appreciates being so close to Dryden in the record books.
“I’d read his book at a pretty young age so I kind of know the history of his career, how intelligent he is as a person and as a goalie and he’s taught the goaltending world a lot of things and the hockey world in general,” Holtby said. “Any time you can be mentioned in the same breath as him is pretty cool.”
NOTES: Kessel’s goal was his sixth of the season, and his 20 points are tied for seventh in the league. … Penguins C Sidney Crosby has now gone 10 games without a goal. … Penguins D Matt Hunwick missed his 12th consecutive game with a concussion. … Penguins enforcer Ryan Reaves fought for the fourth time this season when he dropped the gloves with Capitals winger Liam O’Brien.
Penguins: Return to the site of their latest Stanley Cup triumph when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday night for the sixth of their league-leading 19 back-to-backs.
Capitals: Host Connor McDavid and the Oilers on Sunday night after beating them 5-2 in Edmonton on Oct. 28.
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