"What I can say about him?" reigning Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin said. "He is a good player, but he talks too much."

"Like it or lump it, that's what he does," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said about Ovechkin's checking, insinuating dirty play. "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."

"I play hard. If he wants to do something like hit me again, try to hit me again -- and I'll talk to you guys [about] who plays dirty," Ovechkin said. "That's my game. It's not cheap shots, it's a game moment. But he doesn't like it, it's his problem."
Ah yes, now that we have that settled, we can talk about a hockey game.

The Washington Capitals (38-17-5, first in Southeast) defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-26-6, fourth in Atlantic) 5-2 before a raucous, sold out Verizon Center Sunday afternoon on national television.

The Capitals got goals from five different players, and held the Pens' dynamic duo to an assist apiece in turning back the tenth place team in the conference, despite being granted eight power play chances to DC's three, including all three man-advantages int he third period. Pittsburgh went just 1-for-8 with the extra man. The Caps went two-for-three.

The Capitals are 3-0 against the Penguins this season and 4-1-1 since Bruce Boudreau took over in November 2007. The Caps have won 13 straight at home against Eastern Conference opponents and hold the East's best home record at 24-5-1 overall.

The win gives the Caps their best record through 60 games in franchise history.

Washington received goals from Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, Shaone Morrisonn and Brooks Laich, chasing Peguins starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after Laich's tally. Pittsburgh got markers from Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar, playing in just his fourth game this season since returning from a shoulder injury.

Jose Theodore made 31 saves in the win for Washington.

Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar scored for the Penguins, losers of six of seven on the road.

Never was the status of this rivalry more evident than late in the second period, as both superstars were exiting the ice for a line change. Ovie gave Crosby a shoulder check and Crosby responded by trying to dump Ovechkin over the boards and into the Caps team bench. Ovechkin grabbed Crosby by the back of the neck, pulling his helmet off in the process, right in front of Washington's bench, and on-ice reporter Pierre McGuire for NBC.

A linesman stepped between the players and the jawing continued, but Ovechkin got the last word in waving "bye bye" to Sid the Kid as Crosby was pushed toward the Penguins bench, much like a petulant child sent to a "time out".

"I think he got frustrated because he wasn't getting the freedom he's had in this building before," Boudreau said of Crosby's dust-up with Ovechkin. "It adds spice. It's entertainment. It gets your blood boiling a bit. And every time Alex gets a little more excitable, it can be good for us."

The Capitals face their other rival from the Commonwealth, the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday night at 7:00 pm from Verizon Center. Philly fell to Pittsburgh Saturday night 5-4, and are fourth in the conference with 71 points.

06:53 Power Play - Alex Ovechkin (43), Snap Shot. Assist: Backstrom, Fedorov
12:08 Maxime Talbot (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Eaton, Orpik
13:02 Power Play - Alexander Semin (22), Wrist Shot. Assist: Backstrom, Green

00.56 Sergei Fedorov (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Semin
04:46 Power Play - Sergei Gonchar (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Malkin
12:56 Shaone Morrisonn (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Ovechkin, Fehr
13:21 Brooks Laich (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Poti, Morrisonn


1. S. Fedorov - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
2. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)
3. A. Semin - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 1)