Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crosby Scores as Penguins Continue Their Recent Domination of Capitals

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crosby Scores as Penguins Continue Their Recent Domination of Capitals

Article excerpt

Penguins continue domination of Capitals

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WASHINGTON - The NHL wanted to provide plenty of Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin by moving the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals into the same division.

The league couldn't separate them again fast enough for the Capitals given the Penguins' recent domination.

Pittsburgh beat Washington 4-0 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center, the fifth straight victory in the series, to maintain first place in the Metropolitan Division. Barring a sudden and unexpected change of structure, the Capitals would love to start finding answers as to why the Penguins have their number.

"Based off tonight we know we have some work to do in order to rebound our next game against them," Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said. "We feel we have the players in here that are capable of beating them. It's just a matter of putting together a 60-minute game where we're all on the same page and doing things we need to do to win."

Instead, the Penguins did just about everything necessary to blow Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals out of their own building. They jumped out to a strong start, got two points apiece from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and a shutout from lightly tested goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 18 saves.

"I think this was as complete a game as we played," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "We came out and pushed the pace, the speed of the game. ... The second half of the game was a team effort: how we played the game, managed the puck and shut them down."

Bylsma used the word "smothering" to describe his team's all-around defensive effort. The Penguins outshot the Capitals 40-18 overall and perhaps more importantly 34-10 at even strength.

Washington at one point had a 9:22 shot drought and midway through the game put more pucks on net short-handed than five-on-five. That's not typically a path to success, and Capitals coach Adam Oates blamed an overall lack of execution.

"Obviously you have to give them some credit, they played a very good hockey game," Oates said. "We got behind early and (it's a) tough team to catch up (against), and they didn't give us anything."

Getting ahead and clamping down was something the Penguins took a great deal of pride in. Crosby, who passed St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen to take sole possession of the NHL points lead with a power-play goal and an assist, pointed to the strong start as something that set the tone for the whole night.

That Pittsburgh (14-8-0) started well was not a surprise, but they had something tangible to show for it when defenceman Paul Martin beat Holtby with a seemingly-harmless shot from the blue-line just 6:38 into the game. Rookie Beau Bennett made it 2-0 a few minutes later, and the Penguins went into the first intermission with a 17-6 shot advantage despite the Capitals spending over four minutes on the power play. …

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