Jan 28, 10:58 PM EST

Ovi gets 2; Crosby struggles as Capitals blank Penguins 4-0


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alex Ovechkin scored twice to take the NHL lead in goals, Braden Holtby recovered from a mini-slump to get his fifth shutout of the season, and Sidney Crosby had one of his worst faceoff nights as the Washington Capitals broke a four-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Ovechkin had a tip-in goal in the first period and then scored from his customary spot in the left circle with a one-timer on a power play in the second. His 29 goals are one more than Rich Nash and Tyler Seguin. Eric Fehr and Mike Green scored in the third.

Holtby, the stabilizing force that helped the Capitals recover from a slow start to the season, had allowed four goals in each of his last three starts.

On Wednesday he was back to his reliable self, stopping 27 shots to blank the Penguins for the second time in a little over a month. Pittsburgh hasn't scored on Washington in 120 minutes this season.

Crosby received an injection last week to treat a lower-body injury that caused him to miss one game as well as the NHL All-Star game, and he wasn't the usual Sid.

He lost 15 of his first 18 faceoffs and lost 17 of 24 for the game, a 29 percent success rate that is among the worst in his 594 NHL games.

The Penguins also played their third straight without franchise stalwart Evgeni Malkin, who also has a lower-body injury. Pittsburgh has lost five of six.

If there were a third assist in hockey, it would have gone to Jay Beagle for his work before Ovechkin's first goal. Beagle doggedly went to the ice to keep the puck alive in traffic and got it to Nicklas Backstrom, who fed Karl Alzner for a shot from the blue line. Ovechkin, stationed by the crease, held out his stick and redirected it past Marc-Andre Fleury.

Backstrom also got the secondary assist on Ovechkin's second goal.

NOTES: Ovechkin has 43 points in 37 regular-season games vs. the Penguins. ... The Capitals have earned a point in 10 consecutive home games. ... Looking to shake things up because of the losing streak, Washington coach Barry Trotz played Michael Latta after sitting the young center for nine of the previous 10 games. Latta's most noticeable contribution was a tussle with Steve Downie in a fight-filled third period. ... Washington is 24-1-4 when scoring first. ... Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Malkin might return for next week's Canada road trip: "If he gets on the ice (for practice) this weekend, then we would plan on probably taking him out west."

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