Caps pummel Pens, 7-1

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[November 17, 2016]  WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and three assists, T.J. Oshie added two goals and two assists, and the Washington Capitals routed the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-1 Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

Braden Holtby made 25 saves and Justin Williams, Dmitry Orlov and Alex Ovechkin also scored for Washington (10-4-2), which had lost three of its last four.

Oshie has five goals in his last seven games and the four points tied his career high. With his eighth goal of the season to close out the scoring, Ovechkin picked up his first point in five games.

Pittsburgh averted the shutout when Phil Kessel scored with 3:32 left.

Penguins starting goalie Matthew Murray stopped 12 of 14 shots before leaving the game late in the first period after getting hit in the face with a stick. Marc-Andre Fleury relieved Murray and made 20 saves.

Murray had won 11 straight regular season games going back to last season.

Pittsburgh (10-4-2) was whistled for nine minor penalties, and Washington scored a pair of power-play goals to go along with a short-handed tally that opened the scoring. The Capitals came in without a power-play goal over their last five games.

 

Washington had managed just five goals in its last four games, but erupted for three in the first 20 minutes against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Jay Beagle got them started when he broke in on Murray during a Penguins power play. Murray made the initial save, but Oshie scored on the rebound at 7:32.

Pittsburgh thought they had the equalizer at 15:30 after a scramble in front of Holtby, but a replay showed that Evgeni Malkin kicked the puck into the net and the goal was disallowed.

Just two minutes later, Backstrom made it 2-0 on a rush when he used a defenseman for a screen and fired a wrist shot past Murray.

The Pittsburgh goalie was in the wrong place at the wrong time late in the period. With 24 seconds left, Murray's mask was knocked off as Malkin and Washington's Karl Alzner began scuffling behind him. Malkin's stick then swung around and hit Murray in the face. He fell to the ice briefly and then left the game.

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Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) prepares to shoot the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) defends in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With Fleury in net and Washington on a power play, John Carlson's blast from the point trickled behind Fleury and Oshie poked it home with eight seconds left in the period for his second goal of the game and eighth of the season.

It was the first time this season Washington scored three goals in the first period.

Orlov made it 4-0 when he beat Fleury at 5:19 of the second period for his first goal of the season.

NOTES: Alex Ovechkin played only 14:12 in the Capitals' 2-1 overtime loss in Columbus on Tuesday night, his lowest ice time for a full game since 2005. ... After being healthy scratches Tuesday night, Capitals D Nate Schmidt and RW Brett Connolly were back in the lineup. D Taylor Chorney and F Daniel Winnik were scratched. ... Tom Barrasso holds the Penguins record for consecutive regular season wins by a goalie with 14 from March 9-April 9, 1993. ... Pittsburgh scratches included LW Scott Wilson, RW Tom Kuhnhackl and D Steven Olesky. Penguins D Derrick Pouliot (lower body) skated with the team Wednesday morning, but missed his 11th game. ... Washington kicked off a five-game homestand, their longest of the season.

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