Horn­qvist, Pen­guins turn back Cap­i­tals

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nhl -

WASHINGTON — Pa­tric Horn­qvist scored a power-play 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.

Horn­qvist as­sisted on a goal by Kris Le­tang, the de­fense­man’s first since Feb. 4 af­ter miss­ing the end of last sea­son and playoffs be­cause of neck surgery. Horn­qvist, who scored the Stan­ley Cup-clinch­ing goal last spring de­spite a bro­ken fin­ger on his right hand, was play­ing for the first time since off­sea­son surgery to re­pair it.

Conor Sheary scored the Pen­guins’ third goal as they went 3 for 6 on the power play. The Cap­i­tals’ six mi­nor penal­ties were a sea­son high and con­trib­uted to their first reg­u­la­tion loss.

Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-lead­ing eighth goal of the sea­son in the Cap­i­tals’ fourth game. Chris­tian Djoos as­sisted on Ovechkin’s goal and scored in his NHL de­but to be­come the third de­fense­man in fran­chise his­tory to score in his de­but af­ter Steve Poapst and Hall of Famer Scott Stevens.

Matt Mur­ray stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced to pick up the vic­tory. Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington.

Al­though Ovechkin’s goal made things in­ter­est­ing at 3-2 with 7:09 left in the third pe­riod, Horn­qvist staked the Pen­guins to a lead and paid im­me­di­ate div­i­dends in his re­turn. Coach Mike Sul­li­van ex­pected Horn­qvist to be “a mo­men­tum guy,” which the 30-yearold Swede was on the power play.

Horn­qvist was on the ice and around the net for all three Pen­guins goals. He also scored in their Game 7 vic­tory in Washington in the sec­ond round of the playoffs last year, the last time these teams faced each other.

Brian Gib­bons had a rare 3-on-5 goal, Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha each scored twice and un­beaten New Jer­sey de­feated Toronto in Toronto. Blake Cole­man also scored, and Cory Schneider made 47 saves to help New Jer­sey open 3-0-0 for the first time since 2014-15. Tied 2-2 af­ter 20 min­utes, New Jer­sey (3-0-0) scored twice in the sec­ond pe­riod de­spite be­ing out­shot 17-12. A key mo­ment came late in the pe­riod with the Devils tak­ing two mi­nors on one play. Rather than Toronto tak­ing ad­van­tage, New Jer­sey killed off the penal­ties and scored short-handed to make it 4-2.

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