- Associated Press - Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tom Wilson scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with 7:20 left and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Thursday night for their second victory in six games this season between the rivals.

Nicklas Backstrom scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season, and T.J. Oshie had one for the highlight reel in the third period when he dived one-handed to poke the puck past Tristan Jarry.

Wilson’s tap-in on the power play helped Washington respond after blowing a 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals against 3 minutes apart.

Wilson was at the center of everything with and without the puck. The Capitals‘ bench got fired up when Evgeni Malkin knocked the puck out of Wilson’s hands and kicked it away on a Pittsburgh power play; Wilson delivered a late hit on Mark Jankowski that earned him an interference penalty; and he exchanged words with a few Penguins players throughout the night.

Scoring his seventh goal of the season only made him more unpopular with the Penguins and their fans.



Carl Hagelin and Lars Eller each scored an empty-netter, and Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 26 saves in his 16th start of the season. Chris Tanev scored on him short-handed and Jake Guentzel tied it at even strength.

Jarry allowed three goals on 33 shots. Pittsburgh’s power play went 0 for 4 with just four shots on goal.

These two teams aren’t scheduled to face off again until April 29 in Washington.

PENGUINS INJURIES

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said winger Jason Zucker will be out “longer term” with a lower-body injury. Zucker was injured Tuesday night when his right skate slid into Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen’s right skate, and he had to be helped off the ice.

Forward Jared McCann missed his seventh consecutive game with a lower-body injury. McCann has been cleared for contact and is expected to return soon.

SAMSONOV STILL OUT

After entering the season as Washington‘s No. 1 goaltender, Ilya Samsonov hasn’t played an NHL game in more than a month. Samsonov has made three minor league rehab starts since recovering from a bout with COVID-19.

Samsonov allowed four goals on 19 shots in a game with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears on Wednesday night and was recalled to the Capitals‘ taxi squad Thursday. Coach Peter Laviolette said the team’s focus was on the Penguins game and added, “I’m sure we’ll have an update at some point here.”

UP NEXT

Penguins: Visit the New York Islanders on Saturday night for the first of two consecutive games on Long Island.

Capitals: Play the first of two in a row at New Jersey on Saturday. Washington is 1-3-2 in day games this season, with that one victory coming at home against the Devils.

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