Penguins Vs. Capitals: Pascal Dupuis Scores In Seventh Round Of Shootout To Lift Penguins To 3-2 Victory

Pascal Dupuis scored the sudden-death shootout goal to give the Penguins the victory in a Winter Classic prelude.

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Pittsburgh Outlasts The Caps In A Shootout

Washington-DC If tonight's game was any indication of the hockey to be played next week at Heinz Field between the Penguins and Capitals, we are in for a treat. The appetizer to the main course that is the Winter Classic was a gritty effort on both sides, ending in a shootout that lasted seven rounds with Pittsburgh emerging victorious.

Pascal Dupuis netted the game-winner against goalie Michal Neuvirth to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory in a brutal battle between two archrival superstars and their teams.

While Alex Ovechkin didn't score until the shootout, Sidney Crosby had a multi-point game to spearhead the win in Washington with the HBO cameras rolling.

Though the Caps lost, they were the better team for long stretches of the game. They controlled the puck for much of the first period and a half, but didn't score until late in the second on a Mike Green powerplay goal. Despite the pressure they brought in waves, goals were once again difficult to come by and Washington never led. However, the team felt good about their performance.

"We're back. We're back to the style of hockey we can play," said defenseman Karl Alzner. "And that was one of the questions that [was] going around. Hopefully, we silenced a few of them. We had a low-scoring game and we played solid for 60 minutes. It was a grade-A effort from our team. That's what we like to see."

As Alzner pointed out, the contest was a surprisingly low-scoring affair. Washington's defense, led by Green, played soundly for much the night, limiting the Penguins to just 12 shots for the first two periods. Pittsburgh also went scoreless on five powerplays courtesy of another stellar night by the penalty killing unit.

Green played a tremendous game, scoring the all-important breakthrough goal in the second while playing well in his defensive zone down the stretch. He made a great play behind his own net late in the third to poke the puck away from Crosby and appeared to have possibly scored the game-winner in overtime, but for a sensational glove save from Marc-Andre Fleury.

"That was his best game in a long time," said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. "He was good defensively and he jumped into the plays and made things happen offensively."

While Crosby provided the offense with a goal and an assist (extending his point streak to 23 games), Fleury stopped 32 shots and six skaters in the shootout to backstop the win.

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Teams Head To Overtime Tied At Two

Washington, DC-Even when they don't play their best hockey, the Capitals sure are a resilient bunch aren't they? Down 2-1, they rally back and now this game is headed to overtime.

Pittsburgh woke up in the third as they took the body at every available opportunity while the Capitals faded. Crosby notched his second point of the night with an assist on a Chris Kunitz tally to put the Penguins up 2-1.

After the goal, Pittsburgh turned the tables on Washington by drawing three consecutive penalties. However, just when it appeared the Caps were out of gas on the PK, Brooks Laich found himself in a two-on-one with Mike Knuble. Laich feathered a pass to Knuble streaking down the middle and he buried a backhand five-hole on Marc-Andre Fleury.

The shorthanded goal tied it at two at 14:31 mark and re-energized a team that appeared tired coming out for the start of the period. Michal Neuvirth was once again sharp while Mike Green has played one of his better games of the season.

The game isn't the high-scoring glitzy game we expected, but the old-time hockey effort from both teams tonight has been fun to watch. Why not a little overtime?

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Mike Green Ties It 1-1 Heading Into The Third

The Capitals did plenty of good things in the first period against the Penguins. They possessed the puck, outshot the Pens, and made sure Pittsburgh was unable to run away with the game after an early Sidney Crosby marker. In the second frame, they came out with more of the same and it paid off.

After threatening throughout the game, the Caps broke through with a Mike Green power play goal to knot it up one apiece after two periods of play at the Verizon Center. Green finally made the most of one of the team's numerous power plays with a shot from the slot to tie it up. The Capitals defenseman, who hadn't scored in 14 games, was visibly relieved to see the puck go past Marc-Andre Fleury who had stopped the first 22 Capital shots of the game.

The Caps continued to control the ice in the second period, at one point forcing the Penguins to ice the puck four straight times. After the fourth, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma called timeout to rest his players and soon after Washington drew their second penalty of the period. Mike Rupp went off for hooking and on the subsequent play, Matt Cooke's clearing effort ricocheted off the boards for a delay of game. Green scored just as Rupp was leaving the box.

The Penguins weren't without their chances. Most notably, Evgeni Malkin was interfered with on a breakaway attempt by Green. The referees awarded him a penalty shot, but Michal Neuvirth made a sprawling stop on Malkin backhand bid.

The Capitals held the Penguins to six shots once again. They lead the shot count 25-12 and continue to wear the Penguins down in their own zone. Pittsburgh has struggled to stay out of the box due to the pressure and failed to mount much a counterattack in the second period. However, the contest is still up for grabs heading into the third.

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Penguins Vs Capitals: Sidney Crosby's First Period Goal Puts Caps In An Early Hole

Washington, DC-The Pittsburgh Penguins came into tonight's game against the Washington Capitals as the hotter team throughout the month of December. The Caps, still trying to hit their stride after a recent eight-game losing streak, knew they would need to weather an early salvo from a confident Penguins club led by red hot captain Sidney Crosby.

It wasn't the high-scoring affair expected after one period, but the Capitals are very much in this game. In fact, they spent long stretches in the offensive zone only to be thwarted by Pens goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury.

It was an explosive beginning as the Capitals hit the ice in front of a rowdy sellout crowd and Alex Ovechkin punctuated the hype with a massive hit on Evgeni Malkin 42 seconds in. The Caps got an early chance as Malkin went to the box to give Washington a 4-on-3 advantage. However, the Penguins killed off the penalty and at 3:21, Crosby extended his points streak to 23 games with a tip-in from Chris Letang to put Pittsburgh up 1-0.

The Capitals went 0-3 on the powerplay including a 5-on-3 opportunity as Fleury contributed two key saves to preserve the lead. Fleury extended his left pad to deny a chance from Backstrom along the goal line and then made a flashy glove save on an Ovechkin shot from the top of the circle.

The Capitals doubled up the Pens in shots 12-6, but failed to put one past Fleury as the Pens skated into the locker room up 1-0.

It wasn't for lack of effort that Washington trails heading into the second period, but they will need to convert on their scoring chances if they want back into a game they are controlling in terms of puck possession.

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Longtime Rivals Clash In 2011 Winter Classic Preview

The real big game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals isn't happening until January 1, when the two teams will clash in Pittsburgh for the 2011 Winter Classic. Tonight, though, is still a big game for both teams, as they will do battle tonight at the Verizon Center in a prelude to the January 1 showdown.

One week ago, it was Sidney Crosby and the Penguins who were flying high. They had won 12 games in a row from late November to early December. But that streak ended with losses to Philadelphia and New York, though they have won their past two games. Meanwhile, the Capitals, thanks in part to a locker-room speech by Mike Knuble, have righted the ship after eight straight losses. They rallied to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Sunday, then routed the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Things appear to be looking up in D.C.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a big game. The two teams are second and third in the Eastern Conference, with 48 and 44 points, respectively, and they are historic rivals. However, thanks to HBO's 24/7 series, this game carries extra significance. We've learned a lot more about both teams, and we will learn a lot about this specific game in next week's episode.

We'll have live updates from Verizon Center all night, so stay tuned.

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