Sports Network | December 23, 2010
Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 23 games with a goal and an assist and Pascal Dupuis scored the winner in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins took a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in a preview of the Winter Classic.
These two teams will meet each other again in just over a week as the Penguins will host the Capitals at Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, in the fourth annual Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
Crosby has 23 goals and 22 assists during his run, which is the longest since Mats Sundin ripped off a 30-game point streak during the 1992-93 season with Quebec.
Chris Kunitz scored the other goal for the Penguins, who won for the third straight game and 15th time in their last 17 contests. Fleury stopped 32 shots for Pittsburgh, which ended its pre-Christmas slate with a 24-10-2 record, good enough for 50 points and vaulted over division-rival Philadelphia for the top spot in the NHL.
“When the puck drops it’s exactly what the build-up means,” said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma. “It’s always a show for the fans and that’s who these games are for. Picking up the win here always feels good.”
Green and Mike Knuble each had a goal for the Capitals, who had won their previous two games. Neuvrith made 25 saves in the loss.
“I think the team played well and lived up to the hype that’s been going on,” said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I think it’s two really good teams going at it out there and we lost the skills competition.”
With the score tied heading into the third, the Pens needed just 17 seconds to take the lead as Crosby charged the zone and from the right side was able to get a one-handed shot on net. Neuvrith made the save, but the rebound went out front and Kunitz cleaned up the garbage for his ninth goal of the year.
Washington, though, tied the game while shorthanded on a 2-on-1 break as Brooks Laich sent the puck from the left side to the slot for Knuble, who went to the backhand to get the five-hole open and slid the puck through with 5:29 left in the third.
Washington nearly won the game halfway through overtime as Green seemed to slipped a backhand behind Fleury, but the goaltender slammed the glove to the ice to stop the puck. It was called no-goal on the ice and a video review determined there wasn’t enough evidence to determine that the puck went over the goal line.
Crosby needed just 3:21 to extend his points streak. Evgeni Malkin held the puck at the low left circle and sent it over to the right point. Kris Letang took it from there and sent it down low where Crosby turned his stick to deflect the puck into the net.
Malkin was awarded a penalty shot just 1:23 into the second, but Neuvrith was able to keep it a one-goal game when he used the glove to stop Malkin’s backhander.
Pittsburgh was doing a good job of keeping Washington from getting any quality chances, but that ended when Alexander Semin fired the puck to the slot for Green, who lasered it home to tie the contest with 6:17 left in the second.
Green’s goal was just his sixth of the year and first since November 14 against Atlanta. He had gone 14 games without a marker…The Caps play on Sunday in Carolina…Pittsburgh also plays on Sunday in Ottawa…Washington took all four meetings last season and had won seven of eight coming into the contest.