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Penguins shut out Capitals 3-0 to reclaim 1st place in East

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) skates by after he scored a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) during the f...
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust celebrates his goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, ...
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) celebrates his goal with left wing Jake Guentzel (59), defenseman Kris Letang (58) and defenseman Brian...
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust celebrates his goal during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, S...
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stops the puck during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sat...
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) and right wing Colton Sceviour (7) compete for the puck against Washington Capitals center Evgen...
Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd (26) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Teddy Blueger (53) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, ...
Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jason Zucker (16) collide during the first period of an NHL hockey ga...
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck past Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and right wing Tom Wilson (43)...
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stops the puck during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sa...
Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) shoots the puck next to Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) during the second period of an N...
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) reaches for the puck in front of Washington Capitals left wing Michael Raffl (17) during the sec...

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) skates by after he scored a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) during the f...

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust celebrates his goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, ...

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) celebrates his goal with left wing Jake Guentzel (59), defenseman Kris Letang (58) and defenseman Brian...

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust celebrates his goal during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, S...

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stops the puck during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sat...

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) and right wing Colton Sceviour (7) compete for the puck against Washington Capitals center Evgen...

Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd (26) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Teddy Blueger (53) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, ...

Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jason Zucker (16) collide during the first period of an NHL hockey ga...

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck past Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and right wing Tom Wilson (43)...

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stops the puck during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sa...

Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) shoots the puck next to Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) during the second period of an N...

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) reaches for the puck in front of Washington Capitals left wing Michael Raffl (17) during the sec...

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryan Rust scored two unassisted goals, Tristan Jarry made 23 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the Washington Capitals 3-O Saturday night to reclaim first place in the East Division.

Trade deadline pickup Jeff Carter also scored his fourth goal in 10 games in a Penguins uniform. Jarry registered his second shutout of the season as the Penguins beat the Capitals for the sixth time in eight meetings this season.

“We kind of just set a blueprint for ourselves on how we’ve got play to beat this team — things we’ve got to do kind of in the defensive zone, through the offensive zone and I think that’s important moving forward," said Rust, whose goals were the 99th and 100th of his NHL career.

Two nights after each team clinched a playoff berth, this potential postseason preview looked awfully lopsided. The Penguins pounced on opportunities and scored on three of their first 13 shots against Ilya Samsonov to suck the life out of the crowd of just over 2,000.

"Obviously, you’re going to have games like this," Washington's Nicklas Backstrom said. “They’re a good team. They were playing good defensively. Tough loss.”

It was far from the complement of talent either team would want in a playoff series. The Capitals didn't have captain and leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin and top defenseman John Carlson because of lower-body injuries, and the Penguins remained without forward Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Tanev with injuries that have kept them out for several weeks.

But Pittsburgh hasn't slowed down. With captain Sidney Crosby inching into the MVP discussion, the Penguins have won 16 of 23 games without Malkin and again look like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

“It’s just trying to put us in the best possible position come playoff time and I think that’s our mindset,” Jarry said. "We want to do as well as we can in each game and try and finish the season strong and put us in a good position come the time the playoffs start.”

GOALTENDING CONTRAST

The Capitals didn't get the save they needed from Samsonov either when Garnet Hathaway fell down on Rust's first goal or when Dmitry Orlov couldn't get back after the puck bounced off him on Rust's second.

The Penguins got five saves from Jarry during a two-minute span late in the second period when the Capitals were buzzing. Jarry got his left pad on a shot by Anthony Mantha driving to the net and slid over to deny Evgeny Kuznetsov to keep it a shutout.

“They pushed hard there and they had momentum in that second half of the second period, and I thought Tristan made some real big saves to keep the score where it was," coach Mike Sullivan said. "That’s the impact that Tristan can have on the game for us is he makes some key saves at key times that give us an opportunity to win games.”

Pittsburgh went into the season with a goaltending question after trading Matt Murray to Ottawa and turning the duties over to Jarry and Casey DeSmith. Now Washington might have a problem in net, since neither Samsonov nor Vitek Vanecek has any playoff experience.

No team since 1945 has won the Cup dressing goalies in the playoffs who combined for fewer than 100 regular-season starts. Samsonov and Vanecek will likely have 77 between them.

MATHESON HURT

The Penguins lost Mike Matheson late in the second period when he took a puck to the face and played the rest of the game down to five defensemen. Sullivan didn't have an update on Matheson's health.

MALKIN SOON?

Malkin's return could be imminent, and Sullivan just wants the star Russian center to “play his game” when back on the ice.

“Obviously there’s going to be an adjustment process for Geno. He’s been out for quite a while now,” he said, acknowledging it's difficult to simulate game intensity in practice. “Our hope is that with each game that he plays, he's going to get back to his true form that we all love watching.”

OVECHKIN STILL OUT

Ovechkin missed a fourth consecutive game, his longest injury absence since 2009. He and Carlson took part an optional practice Friday and the morning skate Saturday but weren't deemed healthy enough to play.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Visit the Philadelphia Flyers for back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday.

Capitals: Play at the New York Rangers on Monday and Wednesday.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Updated : 2021-05-11 06:40 GMT+08:00