Pens beat Capitals
WASHINGTON — Patric Hornqvist went right back to the net where he feels most comfortable and was in his element once again.
Hornqvist scored a powerplay goal and assisted on another in his season debut to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Wednesday night in their first meeting since the playoffs. The Swedish forward who scored the Stanley Cupclinching goal despite a broken finger and needed surgery to repair it, was on the ice for all three Pittsburgh power-play goals, naturally crashing the crease on each occasion as he’s accustomed to doing.
“That’s usually where I end up being and where I get my points and like to be,” Hornqvist said. “You have to play games to get better, and it was good to get the win and it was fun to be back out there.”
Hornqvist assisted on a goal by Kris Letang, the defenceman’s first since Feb. 4 after missing the end of last season and playoffs because of neck surgery. He was also right there for Conor Sheary’s goal as Pittsburgh went 3 for 6 on the power play.
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading eighth goal of the season in the Capitals’ fourth game. His goal with 7:09 in the third period made things interesting, but Washington’s season-high six minor penalties dug too deep a hole as a third of the game was played on special teams.
“It really didn’t allow our top players to get going,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Every time we started getting any rhythm, we’d get a penalty.”
Christian Djoos assisted on Ovechkin’s goal and scored in his NHL debut to become the third defenceman in Capitals franchise history to score in his debut after Steve Poapst and Hall of Famer Scott Stevens.
“First game in the NHL, and you get a goal and an assist,” Djoos said. “That wasn’t my plan really when I showed up at the rink.”