Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby set the stage, Evgeni Malkin made the difference.
The ballyhooed matchup of last season's top two rookies lived up to the hype, but Malkin - this year's leading rookie - was the star on Monday night. He notched a goal and assisted on one by Crosby in regulation, then scored the decisive tally in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins erased a four-goal deficit and beat Ovechkin's Washington Capitals 5-4.
"He's done it a million times, I think," Crosby said of Malkin, who teamed with Ovechkin on Russia's Olympic team this year. "He looks so smooth out there. He does it in practice, and he does it with ease in key situations. One-one-one with a goalie, I like our odds with him."
Erik Christensen also scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, 2-3-1 in the past six games.
Chris Clark had two goals and two assists for the Capitals, who led 4-0 in the second period but couldn't hold on for their sixth win in seven games. Washington is 0-5 in shootouts this season.
The Penguins stormed back with goals in the middle frame from Maxime Talbot, Christensen and Crosby, who scored for the fourth straight game.
"There's no question there's more emotion, but it's natural for it to be like that," Crosby said of facing Ovechkin. "I don't think guys are adding anything to it than what it is. Everyone knows when it's a bigger stage guys want to rise to the occasion.
"I don't feel I have to rescue a franchise or a league. I'm happy to be part of both, but I think there's a lot of young talent, a lot of guys who can bring excitement besides me and Alex."
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment