WASHINGTON — Patric Hornqvist scored the day after undergoing a dental procedure, Matt Murray made 29 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 Sunday in the 50th regular-season game between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
Crosby assisted on Dominik Simon’s goal to give him 12 points in seven games since returning from injury. Ovechkin was held off the score sheet and remained at 37 goals this season and 695 for his career.
By winning in regulation, the Penguins crept within four points of the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals with an extra game left to play. They’re 2-0 out of their bye week and have won five of seven since Crosby came back.
Pittsburgh made life difficult on rookie Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who allowed goals to Sam Lafferty, Hornqvist, Simon and Brandon Tanev on 33 shots. In his first career start against the Penguins, Samsonov gave up one goal short side, one off his stick, one on a rebound and was victimized by a bad bounce late.
Murray was solid, rewarding coach Mike Sullivan for the start over All-Star Tristan Jarry. One of his biggest stops came on a breakaway by Jakub Vrana in the second period with the Penguins leading 2-1, and Simon doubled the lead minutes later.
Murray also got a piece of a shot by Ovechkin late in the third period with the Penguins clinging to a lead and the Capitals pressing.
This was the meeting this season between the bitter rivals, who have faced off in the playoffs three of the past four years. Tempers flared several times, and they’ll play three more times down the stretch.
Despite the star power on either side, the Penguins and Capitals combined to go 0 for 9 on the power play. Lars Eller was the best player on the ice and scored twice for Washington, and Evgeny Kuznetsov added a third-period goal.
Kuznetsov also provided the comic relief in the game when he tried to hop on to the Penguins’ bench to avoid a too many men on the ice penalty against the Capitals. He was not successful.
Washington lost consecutive home games in regulation for the first time since January 2019. … Capitals D Dmitry Orlov played his 500th regular-season NHL game. … F Sam Lafferty replaced Andrew Agozzino in the Penguins lineup after being called up Saturday.
Penguins: Head to Florida to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Capitals: Continue their home stand Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press