Capitals rout Penguins 6-1 in Crosby’s return

Nov 14, 2021, 4:35 AM | Updated: 7:37 pm
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) and Pittsburgh Penguins' Brock McGinn (23) battle for the pu...

Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) and Pittsburgh Penguins' Brock McGinn (23) battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With three of their top offensive players out, the Washington Capitals are still right there atop the Metropolitan Division.

Even Sidney Crosby’s return couldn’t help Pittsburgh keep up.

Garnet Hathaway scored his third goal in two games, Alex Ovechkin added two assists and the Capitals routed the Penguins 6-1 on Sunday night in Crosby’s first game back. Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin returned from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, but Washington easily won its fourth straight game.

Crosby went without a point in 16:57 of ice time. It was only his second game of the season. In addition to his COVID-related absence, he also missed the first seven games following offseason surgery.

“It’s his second game in five months, six months, so I think we have to understand where he’s at,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, who also rejoined the team from COVID-19 protocol. “He’s coming off a difficult 10 days that he just went through. I thought he played hard tonight under real challenging circumstances.”

Martin Fehervary, Daniel Sprong, Conor Sheary, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson also scored for Washington, which pulled even with Carolina atop the division. The Capitals also trail Florida by a point for the NHL lead.

Washington continues to win despite being without Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha.

“They’re leaders in our room, and when they’re out, you just try and make them proud,” Wilson said. “You try and work as hard as you can to battle for them. They’ve done it for me, they’ve done it for other guys when we were watching.”

Jake Guentzel scored in the first period for Pittsburgh after his team fell behind 2-0. Then Washington got second-period goals from two former Penguins.

With Washington up 2-1, Dumoulin lost the puck near the blue line. Lars Eller skated in, waited patiently for Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang to slide past, then fed Sprong on the opposite doorstep for his third goal of the season.

“If I’m the lineup, I feel like I’ve got to play a little bit better,” Dumoulin said. “Obviously on that third goal, that’s one I’d like to have back, especially late in the period.”

Sheary, who was on the Penguins’ Stanley Cup-winning teams of 2016 and 2017, scored 2:35 later to give Washington a 4-1 advantage with 1:24 left in the second.

Ovechkin found Kuznetsov free in the slot in the third period for his sixth goal of the season. Then Wilson scored on a power play — shortly after Crosby was called for cross-checking to the delight of the Washington crowd.

This was the first time all season the Penguins were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Saturday night’s game wasn’t much better for Pittsburgh — a 6-3 loss at Ottawa.

Fehervary opened the scoring with a short-handed goal, taking a pass from Wilson on a 2-on-1 and beating Tristan Jerry. Washington made it 2-0 when Ovechkin took a long pass off the boards from Trevor van Riemsdyk, then made a cross-ice feed to Hathaway.

Guentzel cut the lead in half with 1:20 left in the first when he was able to collect the puck in front of the crease and stickhandle around goalie Vitek Vanecek.

Hathaway went without a goal in his first 13 games of the season before scoring twice in Washington’s 4-3 win at Columbus on Friday night. Sheary scored a late game-winner in that one, and those two both had multipoint nights against Pittsburgh.

During a first-period stoppage, Ovechkin received a warm ovation from the crowd and a message from Brett Hull was played on the video screen. Ovechkin scored his 742nd goal Friday, moving past Hull for fourth place on the NHL’s career list.

DOWD’S DEAL

The Capitals signed forward Nic Dowd to a three-year, $3.9 million extension before the game. Dowd has been out with a lower-body injury, although players like Hathaway have picked up the slack lately in his absence.

“Maybe I need to stay out,” Dowd said with a laugh. “I want him to keep going. Hopefully I’ll get back and we can’t play together because he’s scoring too much.”

NOTES: Fehervary became the first Capitals rookie defenseman to score a short-handed goal since Ken Klee in 1995.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Host Buffalo on Tuesday night.

Capitals: At Anaheim on Tuesday night.

___

Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Tom Hoge tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the Shriners Children's Open golf tour...
Associated Press

Tom Hoge rides a pair of eagles to 63, Las Vegas lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tom Hoge wanted to be sure to take advantage of pristine conditions Thursday morning in Las Vegas. He did more than he expected, making two eagles on his way to an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead in the Shriners Children’s Open. One of the eagles came with a gap wedge […]
21 hours ago
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor speaks during a news conference the day before a wild-card baseball...
Associated Press

Star-studded Padres and Mets square off in wild-card round

NEW YORK (AP) — For two teams that finished second fiddle in their divisions, the Padres and Mets bring an awful lot of star power into the playoffs. Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Yu Darvish on the San Diego side. Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor for New York — just to name a […]
21 hours ago
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) throws a pass in the first half of a NFL football game ...
Associated Press

‘Cooper Clutch’ as QB Rush stays perfect for Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Cooper Rush shrugs at what he calls “QB win stats,” seeming to skip the logic that it’s the most important measure of a quarterback. Winning is all Rush has done for the Dallas Cowboys in four games as an injury replacement for Dak Prescott, including three times this season after Prescott […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Cross country coaches on leave after sex assault allegations

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A northeastern Indiana university placed its women’s cross country head coach and an assistant on leave Thursday after two former runners claimed in a federal lawsuit they were doped and sexually assaulted. Huntington University, a private, Christian liberal arts university, said it placed head coach Lauren Johnson and assistant coach Curtis […]
21 hours ago
Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92's Victor Wembanyama signs autographs after the team's exhibitio...
Associated Press

Wembanyama’s 2-game Las Vegas exhibition stay ends with win

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Victor Wembanyama blocked a shot Thursday afternoon, ran to the other end of the court, went airborne from just inside the foul line, corralled an alley-oop pass with one hand and slammed home a dunk. The entire sequence lasted eight seconds. It may have been the signature moment — and there […]
21 hours ago
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo tips his cap as he walks off the field after pitchi...
Associated Press

Manoah, Blue Jays vs Castillo, Mariners in playoff opener

TORONTO (AP) — There’s a whole lot riding on Alek Manoah’s first career playoff start, but the Toronto Blue Jays All-Star right-hander isn’t the least bit fazed about facing the Seattle Mariners in Friday’s wild-card opener. “My high school coach used to say pressure is something you put in your tires,” Manoah joked Thursday. “This […]
21 hours ago
Capitals rout Penguins 6-1 in Crosby’s return