WASHINGTON (AP) – T.J. Oshie left for the second time after taking Evgeni Malkin’s shoulder to the head but returned to score late and lift the Washington Capitals over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Wednesday night in a meeting of the two most recent Stanley Cup champions.
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby traded goals, and Oshie got the winner with 1:14 left following a dangerous hit from Malkin. The Penguins star was thrown out of the game for an illegal check to the head and could get a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 41 of 42 shots for his first victory since Oct. 22. The only goal he allowed was Crosby’s eighth of the season, which came on the power play.
Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith stopped 20 of 22 shots in his first career start against Washington. The Penguins lost their fifth in a row and could be without Malkin in the near future.
Oshie’s rough night began a few minutes in when he took an inadvertent stick to the face from Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and missed the rest of the first period getting stitches on the bridge of his nose. He returned for the second.
An offensive-zone tripping penalty by Washington’s Jakub Vrana midway through the first opened the door for the Penguins’ power play. After Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov lost the puck, Jack Johnson swept it over to Crosby for a one-timer that made it 1-0 at the 12:16 mark.
With Crosby in the penalty box for hooking, Ovechkin tied it 7:09 into the second period. The power-play goal was the 235th of his career and put him in sole possession of eighth on the NHL’s career list.
Pushing and shoving after the whistle was a regularity, and it escalated early in the third period when Malkin lifted his shoulder into Oshie’s head after giving up the puck. The officials conferred before deciding to eject Malkin from the game with a five-minute major.
Pittsburgh survived 1:09 of 4-on-4 and killed off the entire 3:51 of Washington’s power play from Malkin’s match penalty. Oshie returned with about five minutes left in the third and came through with the goal soon after.
NOTES: F Zach Aston-Reese made his season debut and LW Garrett Wilson made his Penguins debut after being called up Tuesday. … Penguins C Derick Brassard missed his sixth consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Capitals D Brooks Orpik missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury. … Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom was honored before the game for recording his 600th NHL assist. He’s the first player in franchise history to reach that milestone. … NASA engineer and Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz was in attendance and got a standing ovation when shown on the video boards during the second period.
Penguins: Return home to face the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Capitals: Continue their home stand Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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