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Pens open home-and-home set with Caps
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to end an up-and-down road trip on a positive note when they visit the Washington Capitals for Monday's Metropolitan Division battle at Verizon Center.
The Penguins are 2-2-0 so far on a five-game road trip but the first-place club has a chance to cap the swing with consecutive victories when it visits the Capitals for the opener of a home-and-home set.
Pittsburgh, which holds a 14-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the division, won for just the second time in six games when it recorded Friday's shootout victory in Anaheim. The victory came one day after the Pens dropped a 5-3 decision in San Jose.
Brandon Sutter scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout to help the Penguins claim a 3-2 win in Orange County and improve to 19-13-2 on the road this season.
In the sixth round, Sutter went to the backhand and lifted it high past Jonas Hiller. Ryan Getzlaf had the last chance for Anaheim, but he missed with a backhand attempt.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist and Deryk Engelland also scored for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots in the win.
"I think for the most part, the past two nights we played pretty well," said Sutter. "Tonight our start was a little slow and last night our finish was a little slow. We managed to find a way and battled. Fleury made some big saves for us."
The Penguins, who will host Washington on Tuesday, are one point behind Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh has dominated the Caps recently, taking both meetings in 2013-14 to push its winning streak in the series to six games. The Pens have claimed two in a row and three of the past four encounters in D.C.
Washington halted a three-game slide in its most recent outing, as the Capitals downed the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 on Saturday.
The Capitals were down 2-0 against the Coyotes heading into the third period, but Karl Alzner and Brooks Laich each scored in the span of 32 seconds midway through the stanza to even the contest. Troy Brouwer followed with the game- winner with 5:13 left.
Washington nearly went the length of two games without a goal before getting three in a five-minute flurry in the third period on Saturday. Alzner's goal at 9:45 of the third ended a goalless drought of 115 minutes and 45 seconds.
"The league is very difficult. We waited, we didn't panic, we didn't give an outnumbered situation to try and cheat to try and get a goal," said Capitals coach Adam Oates.
The rally gave goaltender Jaroslav Halak a win in his Capitals debut.
Halak, who was dealt from St. Louis to Buffalo in the Ryan Miller deal and then moved to Washington at the trade deadline, made 31 saves, including 10 in the third period to help Washington pick up the much-needed win.
Washington, which is 18-10-5 on home ice this season, enters Monday one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
03/10 10:55:19 ET
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