Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby celebrates with goalie Jeff Zatkoff following Monday’s 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
WASHINGTON — Sidney Crosby was everywhere Monday night, from start to finish.
All of 46 seconds into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-2 victory over Alex Ovechkin’s struggling Washington Capitals, Crosby assisted on Chris Kunitz’s goal.
Then, after Washington made it 1-all, Crosby drew a penalty. And 11 seconds later, on Pittsburgh’s third shot of the evening, Crosby put the puck in the net himself. Later, with the score again tied, Crosby had the secondary assist on Kunitz’s second goal.
And finally, when Ovechkin and the Capitals had a power play for most of the last two minutes, Crosby was on the ice, helping kill off the chance.
“It was a very good game,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said about Crosby. “All aspects.”
Now there’s an understatement.
“We saw a 5-on-5 play. We saw the speed (Crosby’s line can) generate, and got the scoring chances,” Bylsma added. “Used him in defensive situations, and (he) did a great job there on the penalty kill in the third.”
Crosby finished with his 30th goal and two assists to raise his NHL-leading point total to 87, matching his uniform number. The Penguins beat Washington for the seventh consecutive time and overtook idle Boston for the Eastern Conference’s best record.
The Capitals, who began the day outside of the playoff picture in 10th place in the East, have lost four of their past five games to fall into what Ovechkin called a “desperate position.”
The teams play each other again today.
Monday’s game featured the largely uneventful NHL debut of Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, a player Capitals general manager George McPhee likened to the Loch Ness Monster: “We’ve heard of you, but we haven’t seen you.” The winger was a first-round draft pick in 2010, but has been playing in Russia.
PREDATORS 4, SENATORS 3, OT
OTTAWA, Ontario — Seth Jones scored at 3:49 of overtime and Nashville defeated Ottawa.
Ryan Ellis broke in alone on goaltender Robin Lehner and Jones was there to bang home the loose puck.
The win allowed the Predators to snap a four-game losing streak.
Nick Spaling, Craig Smith and Eric Nystrom also scored for Nashville.
Jared Cowen, Marc Methot and Jason Spezza scored for the Senators.
Craig Anderson allowed three goals on 29 shots before leaving the game early in the third. Lehner faced 13 shots in relief.
COYOTES 4, LIGHTNING 3, SO
TAMPA, Fla. — Radim Vrbata scored the lone shootout goal to lead Phoenix past Tampa Bay.
Vrbata beat Ben Bishop with a backhand. Mike Smith stopped all three Lightning shootout shots.
Ondrej Palat got the Lightning even at 3-all on his second goal of the game, coming from the low slot with the Tampa Bay net empty and 37.2 seconds left in regulation.
Brandon McMillan, Martin Erat and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes, who trailed eighth-place Dallas by one point in the Western Conference.
Tampa Bay, 1-4-2 since the Olympic break ended, also got a goal from Tyler Johnson.
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