Penguins halt Capitals' win streak at 9 in wild 8-7 victory
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.
Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with three assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.
The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.
Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge.
The Capitals came in with the NHL's best defense, leading the league in goals against while rocketing to the top of the hyper-competitive Metropolitan Division. And for about 25 minutes, it seemed Washington was well on its way to a 10th straight win - which would be the second-longest streak in franchise history - as it raced to a three-goal lead.
Pittsburgh's rally didn't start with a goal but an elbow. Forward Patric Hornqvist hit Oshie in the corner, leading to a wrestling match with Daniel Winnik that sent both off for roughing.
And just like that, the floodgates opened.
Malkin's 19th of the season, a one-timer from the right circle, put the Penguins on the board 6:28 into the second, sparking a span of 10:51 in which the goalies on both sides found themselves fishing the puck out of the net a combined eight times. It looked like a hockey video game with the setting set to "rookie."
Some were pretty, like Sheary's backhand deflection by Holtby that came after a perfect cross-ice feed from Crosby that split the legs of Washington's Karl Alzner. Some were odd, like Rust's innocent flip from behind the net that ricocheted off Alex Ovechkin's skate and by a surprised Holtby.
The Capitals hadn't allowed more than five goals in a game this season. Pittsburgh put up six in less than 11 minutes, the last coming as Malkin jammed the puck by a sprawled Grubauer. The fans, perhaps a bit stunned, waited a beat before tossing their hats onto the ice after the Russian star's third goal. Referees spent several moments reviewing it to see if Hornqvist - sliding on his stomach - interfered with Grubauer. When it was confirmed, another handful of hats flew from the stands to celebrate Pittsburgh's first six-goal period since March 21, 2000 against the New York Islanders.
And neither team was done. Crosby gave the Penguins a 7-5 lead 5:55 into the third, but Oshie and Eller beat Murray to tie it and assure each team of at least a point.
NOTES: The Penguins had lost three straight for the first time since the first weeks of coach Mike Sullivan's 13-month tenure. ... Pittsburgh placed D Kris Letang on injured reserve on Monday. Letang left a loss to Detroit on Saturday night with a lower-body injury. ... Washington scratched D John Carlson, who was held out for precautionary reasons due to a lower-body injury. ... Pittsburgh scratched F Eric Fehr, F Tom Kuhnhackl and D Steve Oleksy.
Capitals: Continue a three-game road trip at St. Louis on Thursday night. Washington beat the Blues 4-3 in the nation's capital on Nov. 23.
Penguins: Visit Montreal on Wednesday night. The teams split their first two meetings this season, each winning on home ice.