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Penguins get 3rd win in row, topping Capitals 6-3


Penguins get 3rd win in row, topping Capitals 6-3

WASHINGTON (AP) Chris Kunitz scored a hat trick in the Pittsburgh Penguins' Super Bowl Sunday visit to the nation's capital, leading a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals that reflected both teams' fortunes so far in the lockout-shortened season.

Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Matt Cooke also scored, Sidney Crosby had three assists, and Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves against his former team for the Penguins, who have won three straight and four of five to lead the Atlantic Division.

Mike Green, John Carlson and Mike Ribeiro scored for the Capitals - and Carlson's goal was an accident that took a weird carom off a stanchion along the glass. Two-time league MVP Alex Ovechkin, who said before the game that he was somewhat embarrassed to have only three points on the season, contributed a secondary assist on a third-period power-play goal with Washington trailing by three.

Washington has lost seven of nine games to start the season. Hosting the Penguins as a Super Bowl warm-up for the third straight year, the Capitals no longer look like the formidable team that beat Pittsburgh 5-4 in overtime with a hat trick from Ovechkin in 2010 and shut out the Penguins 3-0 a year ago - both feisty games that included punches thrown by Ovechkin.

Ovechkin was overly physical in this game as well, getting a roughing call in the final two minutes.

Under new coach Adam Oates, the Capitals are feeling their way around the ice, especially on defense. Braden Holtby stopped only 20 of 26 shots, allowing Letang and Kunitz to beat him glove side 37 seconds apart in the second period to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead.

Vokoun, who shut out the New York Rangers on Thursday, made a successful return to the Verizon Center. He was signed to be the Capitals' No. 1 goalie last season but hurt his groin and was eclipsed by Holtby during the playoffs, prompting Washington to trade him to Pittsburgh.

Martin scored from the point after Crosby won a faceoff in the Capitals' zone to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the first period. Washington tied it less than two minutes later after a nice sequence in which Ribeiro won the puck along the boards and passed it to Wojtek Wolski, who then sent it along to a wide-open Green.

After Cooke made it 2-1, Carlson tied it on a bizarre goal in the second period. The Capitals defenseman was merely trying to dump the puck along the boards, but it rose up and took an odd deflection. Vokoun had already started to retreat behind the net to intercept the puck and tripped trying to change direction to get back to the crease.

Notes: Ovechkin said before the game that the Capitals were in a ``desperate moment.'' He noted that he and other NHL players who spent the lockout playing in Russia should be doing better. ``Right now I'm standing here, I have only three points, and, you know, it kind of embarrass me.'' ... The Capitals played the first of three games without D John Erskine, who was suspended for three games for elbowing Wayne Simmonds in Friday's win over the Philadelphia Flyers. ... Washington had been 12-1-3 in its pervious 16 regular-season meetings vs. Pittsburgh.


Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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NHL Power Rankings: Where do the Caps stand after taking their first regulation loss?

NHL Power Rankings: Where do the Caps stand after taking their first regulation loss?

After starting the season 3-0-1, the Washington Capitals were handed their first loss on Saturday at the hands of the New York Rangers.

It was a tough way to close out the week, especially considering that the team now has to pack its bags and hit the road for a four-game road trip through Western Canada.

But there's one important thing to remember: Teams lose in the regular season. It happens.


The reaction after a loss like Saturday's is to drop the Caps like a stone in the power rankings, but it's important not to overreact to every game. Just four days before the loss, Washington dominated the Colorado Avalanche and they did it with backup Philipp Grubauer in net.

Here's what we know. In their first five games, the Caps earned seven out of a possible 10 points. As of Monday, the team sits second in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Alex Ovechkin put it best.

"You can't win 82 games in a row," he said following Saturday's loss. "Sometimes you have to lose. It's hard lessons for us."

So who Are the Capitals? Are they the team that squandered a two-goal lead at home against the New York Rangers or the one that thoroughly outplayed the Colorado Avalanche?

Find out just where the Caps stand in this week's NHL Power Rankings.

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Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Caps reveal Halloween costumes

Halloween is still a week away, but with the Caps preparing for a long road trip, Halloween came early.

The team had a Halloween party Sunday with many of the players dressing up in costume.

Halloween party in D.C. πŸ‘»πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

A photo posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Alex Ovechkin and his wife, Nastya Shubskaya, appeared to coordinate with Ovechkin dressing up as an inmate and Shubskaya dressing up as a cop. Orlov, who is tagged on the Instagram post as the second person from the right, is dressed up as...the Joker? I think?

Several other players and their wives also got in on the fun.


A photo posted by Gina Carlson (@gnacarlson) on

Mr. and Mrs. Smith 2.0

A photo posted by Lauren Oshie (@loshie17) on

Not to be outdone, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky also joined in on the fun tweeting out their costumes. Fans of the movie "Step Brothers" will enjoy this.

And then there was Zach Sanford....

Rookies in professional sports sometimes have to take on...additional duties. For Sanford, that meant leading the party in a stirring rendition of the song "Sweet Caroline." Thankfully, Ovechkin filmed it.

Caps boys hereπŸ‘πŸ’ͺ

A video posted by Alexander Ovechkin (@aleksandrovechkinofficial) on

Welcome to the NHL, kid.

RELATED: Caps' penalty kill has 'room for improvement'