Chris Kunitz scored a hat trick and the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-3-0, 12 pts) winning streak is at three games, a season high, defeating the Washington Capitals, 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center.
For the second straight game, the Penguins showed quick strike ability and made the Capitals pay for their mistakes, a winning recipe for this hockey club.
Paul Martin (2) and Matt Cooke (1) scored first period goals, and the Penguins took over the game in second period as Kris Letang (2) broke a 2-2 tie at 6:33 of the period to put the Penguins up 3-2 and Chris Kunitz (5) scored 37 seconds later with a snap shot off the rush from 50ft out, giving the Penguins a 4-2 lead. Kunitz would strike again this time on the power play as Evgeni Malkin isolated the Capitals on the right side and fed Kunitz in front who buried it past Braden Holtby as the Penguins took a commanding 5-2 lead going into the second intermission.
A sloppy game for the Capitals, they had 16 giveaways and just 13 shots through two periods. Overall the Capitals had 22 giveaways in the loss. Goaltender Braden Holtby came into the game with a 4.02 goals-against-average and struggled to make routine saves, making 20 saves on 26 shots in a losing effort.
A turning point for the Penguins in the period was killing off a Zach Boychuk boarding penalty at 6:15 of the second period and then Kris Letang scored 41 seconds later and Kunitz 37 seconds after Letang to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead.
The Penguins then showing a killer instinct on the power play with Kuntiz second goal of the game, following a Wojtek Wolski tripping penalty at 13:10 of the period with the Capitals on the power play. Kunitz would make it 5-2 49 seconds later.
Early in the third, the Capitals got back into the game on a Mike Ribero (2) power play goal 3:33 into the third period. Tomas Vokoun would shut the door after that, making several key saves in the period, including two big stops on Alexander Ovechkin to preserve the lead.
Kunitz would net his third of the goal game on the power play with 8 seconds left in the game, burying a shot from the slot.
Tomas Vokoun (3-1-0) made 21 saves to earn his third win of the season. Sidney Crosby had 3 assists and Evgeni Malkin had two assists in the win.
1st 3:37 PIT Paul Martin (2)
Assist: Sidney Crosby (PIT 1-0)
1st 5:05 WAS Mike Green (2)
Assists: Wojtek Wolski, Mike Ribeiro (1-1)
1st 8:20 PIT Matt Cooke (1)
Assists: Deryk Engelland, Robert Bortuzzo (PIT 2-1)
2nd 4:03 WAS John Carlson (1)
Assist: Nicklas Backstrom (2-2)
2nd 6:56 PIT Kris Letang (3)
Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke (PIT 3-2)
2nd 7:33 PIT Chris Kunitz (3)
Assist: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin (PIT 4-2)
2nd 13:59 PIT Chris Kunitz (4) (Power Play)
Assists: Evgeni Malkin, James Neal (PIT 5-2)
3rd 3:33 WAS Mike Ribeiro (2) (Power Play)
Assists: Troy Brouwer, Alex Ovechkin (PIT 5-3)
3rd 19:52 Chris Kunitz (5) (Power Play)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang (PIT 6-3)