Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and assisted on a third, leading the Washington Capitals over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 before 16,975 in snowy western Pennsylvania last night. The Pens also lost three players to injury, including captain and all-star Sidney Crosby, who left late in the game after a collision with Caps forward David Steckel.

The Capitals (28-14-3-59, first in Southeast, second in East) received balanced scoring, as Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist, Niklas Backstrom had three helpers, and Viktor Kozlov, Alexander Semin and Jeff Schultz each added a goal.

After all the talk between the feuding superstars, this game came down to Ovechkin enforcing his will in the third period and dominating the frame. The game was tied at two entering the final 20 minutes, and very quickly into play, last year's MVP showed why he is the pre-eminent player in the game.

On the power play, Ovechkin took a cross-crease pass from Brooks Laich, whacked the first attempt into Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, then collected his own rebound and put the puck past the netminder to break the tie.

The Penguins (21-20-4, fourth in Atlantic, 10th in East) would tie the game briefly again, as Ray Whitney scored his first of the season, but that would be the end of the offensive output for Pittsburgh.

The game winning goal would belong to Tomas Fleischmann, who has goals in four of his last five games and a career-high 15 for the season. On another power play, Ovechkin's shot from the circle bounced off Fleury into the slot, where Fleischmann made a dive to poke the puck past the now out of position netminder.

"There was a puck laying there and open ice," Fleischmann said. "The only way I could reach it was by diving."

Ovechkin put the game out of reach with his second of the night just a few moments later. He skated through the zone drawing Pittsburgh defender towards him, and in an attempt to pass to an open Niklas Backstrom cutting to the net, he puck ricocheted off a Penguin skate and into the back of the net.

The Caps sent Crosby to the dressing room twice during the game. Before being knocked out for good in the third period, Crosby had retreated to the locker room during the first period after falling hard on his right side after tumbling over Kozlov but returned minutes later.

The Penguins also lost defenseman Rob Scuderi (slap shot to the face) and forward Maxime Talbot (undisclosed) during the game.

There were just brief moments of ugliness in this grudge match. Evgeni Malkin drew a two minute interference call for hitting Ovechkin from behind in the first period, and there was a little bit of a shouting match between Ovie and Crosby as the teams retreated after the second period.

The Pittsburgh players did not talk to the media following the game, and the Caps players chose to talk about the team.

"We don't even talk about it," Fleischmann said "It's just the Washington Capitals against the Penguins, that's how it is and we didn't talk about it."

Washington is off for a couple days in preparation for a big meeting with the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins (32-7-4-68) Saturday night at 7:00 pm from Verizon Center. Boston plays at the New York Islanders tonight.

Photo by Getty Images.

05:45 Power Play - Evgeni Malkin (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Satan

01:06 Viktor Kozlov (10), Snap Shot. Assist: Backstrom
08:23 Miroslav Satan (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Talbot, Kennedy
12:40 Alexander Semin (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Fedorov, Fleischmann

01:48 Power Play - Alex Ovechkin (28), Slap Shot. Assist: Laich, Backstrom
03:12 Ryan Whitney (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Jeffrey
08:11 Power Play - Tomas Fleischmann (15), Wrist Shot. Assist: Ovechkin, Backstrom
11:27 Alex Ovechkin (29), Wrist Shot. Assist: Green
18:54 Short - Jeff Schultz (1), Empty Net. Assist: Laich ____________________________________________________

1. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2. N. Backstrom - WAS (Goals: 0, Assists: 3)
3. S. Crosby - PIT (Goals: 0, Assists: 2)

Ovechkin leads the NHL with 28 goals scored.

Florida General Manager Jaques Martin was also at Mellon Arena last night presumably scouting players.

The power play went 2 for 6, netting its first multi-goal game in eight contests.