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03/19/2013 11:42 PM EDT
Pens' win streak at 10 games with 2-1 victory
PITTSBURGH 2, WASHINGTON 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Matt Niskanen's goal and a key penalty kill
kept the Pittsburgh Penguins' winning streak going.



Niskanen scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Sidney
Crosby had two assists and Pittsburgh Penguins extended their
winning streak to 10 games with a 2-1 victory over the
Washington Capitals on Tuesday.



Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in his NHL-leading
16th win of the season.



Crosby picked up his league-leading 36th and 37th assists for
the Penguins, who were without reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin
(shoulder) for the sixth game in a row. The Penguins were also
without defenseman Kris Letang (lower body injury).



"Obviously it's an important time in the game and I thought the
penalty kill did an amazing job of stepping up to the
challenge," Niskanen said.



"We created a lot of energy and some momentum from that. You
could feel the crowd getting into it and we were able to go out
on a rush there and finish and get the game-winner."



The winning streak is the longest of the season for the Eastern
Conference-leading Penguins and the second-longest in the NHL
this season. The Penguins are the first team in NHL history to
have 10-game win streaks in three consecutive seasons.



"The importance is probably greater just because of a shortened
season, but I think the good thing for us is that we're playing
so many games and I don't think anyone is thinking a whole lot
about it, we're just going out there and playing the way that we
need to," Crosby said.



The Penguins have also won a season-high eight games in a row at
home.



Braden Holtby made 34 saves for Washington. Alexander Ovechkin
scored his 12th goal of the season.



With the score tied 1-1 in the third period, Pittsburgh left
wing Matt Cooke received a two-minute penalty for boarding Alex
Ovechkin and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct at 7:49.



The first two minutes went by without a shot on goal by
Washington. Fleury made a glove save on winger Eric Fehr and a
kick save on Ovechkin and the Capitals did not get another shot
before the power play expired.



"They did a good job keeping us to the outside," Fehr said.
"Obviously that was part of the game plan. We just passed it
around, maybe trying to get a little too fancy. We've got to
find a way to maybe have some more shots and have some traffic.
They did a good job boxing out in front. I don't think Fleury
was seeing a whole lot of pucks."



The crowd noise in the arena grew as Washington's power play
wound down. Niskanen picked off a pass in the crease and got it
to Crosby to give the Penguins a 3-on-2 rush into the Capitals
end with Cooke joining after he left the penalty box. Cooke fed
Niskanen for his fourth goal of the season at 11:58.



"You feel that momentum switch, the place is getting crazy and
you need to be able to withstand that," Washington coach Adam
Oates said. "But we turned it over at the end. It was a winnable
game. At the end of that (power play) there's no way we should
give up a turnover. That hurts."



Both teams picked up a power-play goal in the second period.
Washington took a 1-0 lead when Ovechkin one-timed a bouncing
puck past Fleury for his 12th goal of the season at 8:14.



Pittsburgh tied the game three minutes later when Paul Martin
scored his sixth goal of the season, a rising one-timer from the
point that sailed into the top right corner of the net. It was
the Penguins' seventh shot of the power play and 21st of the
game.



"This one's really disappointing," Fehr said. "I thought we had
this game. We worked really hard and we did a lot of things we
need to do to win games. When you run into a hot team like this
they just seem to find a way to win. I thought we deserved that
one."



NOTES: Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin has missed six consecutive
games since taking a hit from Toronto LW James van Riemsdyk on
March 9. Malkin hopes to be ready to play Friday at the New York
Islanders. ... Pittsburgh D Kris Letang was injured during
Sunday's win over Boston. ... The game marked the start of a
season-long, four-game road trip for the Capitals. It was also
the third and final meeting between the rivals this season. ...
Washington D Dmitri Orlov made his season debut. . D Brooks
Laich returned after missing 28 games. ... Washington was
without defensemen Tom Poti, who was injured Sunday, as well as
Mike Green, John Erskine and Tomas Kundratek. ... The Capitals
are 4-9-1 on the road with all four wins against opponents from
the Southeast Conference.

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