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Penguins build big lead, fend off late Capitals rally

Sportsnaut
Dec 10, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Danton Heinen (43) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Danton Heinen (43) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Pittsburgh Penguins built a three-goal lead Friday and held on to win their third straight game, 4-2 over the Washington Capitals.

Danton Heinen, Brock McGinn, Kaspari Kapanen and Jeff Carter scored, and Mike Matheson and Sidney Crosby added two assists each for the Penguins, who are 3-2-1 in their past six games.

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry made 27 saves to improve to 7-1-1 in his past nine starts, and also picked up an assist.

Evgeni Kuznetsov and Lars Eller scored, and Alex Ovechkin had two assists for the Capitals, who had won two in a row and were 5-1-1 in their previous seven.

Washington goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 29 shots.

Washington defenseman Martin Fehervary left in the second period after a collision with McGinn, and forward the Capitals’ Tom Wilson left in the third because of an unspecified injury.

Heinen gave Pittsburgh the lead at 16:16 of the first. He scored from the slot off a give-and-go with John Marino to make it 1-0. That gave Heinen four points in two games and, with eight goals, he is already halfway to his career high of 16 reached in 2017-18 with Boston.

McGinn boosted Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-0 at 8:37 of the second. From deep, he threw the puck out front on what appeared to be a pass intended for linemate Teddy Blueger. Instead, the puck went off the skate of Kuznetsov and over Samsonov’s shoulder.

The Penguins upped it to 3-0 at 11:42 of the second. Evan Rodrigues carried the puck down the right side and dished to Crosby. His one-time pass set up Kapanen, who swept the puck in from the left hash marks.

Kuznetsov spoiled Jarry’s bid for a shutout at 7:33 of the third. Former Penguin Daniel Sprong found Ovechkin with a stretch pass, and Ovechkin fed Kuznetsov. He went to his backhand to beat Jarry to draw the hosts within 3-1.

Eller scored with Samsonov pulled with 2:46 left, but Carter’s empty-netter with 1:53 left sealed it.

–Field Level Media