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Dennis Wideman scores OT winner, Capitals remain unbeaten with 3-2 victory over Penguins
PITTSBURGH (AP) ' Dennis Wideman's power-play goal 2:48 into overtime lifted the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
Wideman rifled a shot from just inside the right circle past Pittsburgh goalie Brent Johnson to keep Washington unbeaten in three games this season.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his first goal of the season for the Capitals, who have won eight straight regular-season games in Pittsburgh. Tomas Vokoun bounced back from a shaky debut with Washington to finish with 39 saves.
James Neal scored twice and Evgeni Malkin had two assists for the Penguins, who took their first non-shootout loss of the season.
Pittsburgh again played without star Sidney Crosby, though the 2007 NHL MVP was cleared for contact earlier Thursday as he continues his comeback from concussion-like symptoms.
Crosby's return remains uncertain, though the Penguins have been just fine without their superstar during the season's first week, getting off to their best start in 17 years.
They received a boost on Thursday from Malkin, who sat out the previous two games while dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
His presence seemed to energize the Penguins, who dominated the game for long stretches and outshot the Capitals 41-19. Malkin set up Neal's second goal of the game with 3:45 left in regulation to tie it at 2.
Pittsburgh controlled the early portion of overtime before Jordan Staal went to the penalty box after tripping Ovechkin. The Capitals didn't let their lone power play of the game go to waste, with Wideman taking a feed from Nicklas Backstrom and rifling it by Johnson for his second goal of the season.
Washington is 12-1-2 in its last 15 regular-season games against the Penguins.
The teams wore patches honoring the 28 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players who died when their plane went down in western Russia last month. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off on nhl.com with the proceeds going to benefit the players' families.
Malkin and fellow Russian Ovechkin participated in a ceremonial faceoff, with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux dropping the puck.
Malkin "won" the faceoff, then wasted little time getting to work when things started for real. He notched a point on his first shift, teaming up with Steve Sullivan to set up Neal and give Pittsburgh the early lead.
Washington tied it in the second when Mike Knuble bulled his way to the net and the puck caromed off Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland and past Johnson.
Ovechkin, who came in with just one assist in Washington's first two games, gave the Capitals the lead, deflecting in Mike Green's shot from the point.
It looked as though it would stand behind Vokoun, who was lit up in a 6-5 win over Tampa Bay but responded with the kind of play the Capitals were looking for when they lured him away from perennial also-ran Florida.
The game had an electric atmosphere for October, and the pregame ceremony honoring the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl gave it some emotional punch.
The patch with the team's logo was Malkin's idea. The typically soft spoken All-Star felt so passionately about it he approached coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero and stressed the importance of paying tribute. Bylsma called the response "amazing" and the effort did not go unnoticed by the KHL in Russia.
"The teams' tribute to the Yaroslavl hockey club is testament to the remarkable bonds shared by all members of the global hockey family," KHL president Alexander Medvedev said. "As we see tonight, great sports rivalries can be put aside when there is an opportunity to benefit those who are in need."
NOTES: Washington D Roman Hamrlik tied Bobby Holik's record for NHL games played by a Czech-born player at 1,314. ... The victory was the 192nd behind the Washington bench for coach Bruce Boudreau, tying him with Ron Wilson for second on the team's list behind Bryan Murray (342). ... Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz had an assist in his first game after signing an extension to stay with the Penguins through 2014.