Dowd's 2 goals lead Caps past Penguins

Nic Dowd produced his first career multiple-goal game with two goals and an assist Saturday as the Washington Capitals won a Metropolitan Division showdown against the host Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.

Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Richard Panik each had a goal and an assist for Washington (41-20-7), which built a 4-0 lead en route to ending a two-game losing streak and maintaining a grip on at least a share of first place in the Metropolitan. Philadelphia (40-20-7), two points behind the Capitals, played host to Buffalo on Saturday night.

Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 26 Penguins shots.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh (39-22-6), which is third in the division and five points behind the Capitals. The Penguins had won two straight.

Matt Murray made 23 saves.

Dowd opened the scoring at 1:52 of the first. He was alone in the slot and one-timed a feed from Garnet Hathaway, who was near the end board, past Murray's blocker.

Off a two-on-one, Backstrom made it 2-0 at 16:15 of the first. He converted a pass from Jakub Vrana and beat Murray glove side.

Panik completed Washington's three-goal first at 18:38. Off a two-on-one that turned into a three-on-two, he took a pass from Nick Jensen and lifted the puck past Murray from below the right circle.

With 1:12 left in the second, Pittsburgh's Jared McCann blocked a shot and set himself up on a breakway. Holtby stopped him, but McCann was impeded and awarded a penalty shot. Holtby made a kick save to preserve the Capitals' three-goal lead.

The Penguins opened the third period on a power play that bled over from the second, but it was Washington that capitalized. Dowd, off a two-on-one with Carl Hagelin, scored a short-handed goal for a 4-0 lead. He lifted the puck past Murray's glove.

Crosby broke up what would have been Holtby's first shutout of the season at 5:09 of the third. He converted a centering pass from Conor Sheary to make it 4-1.

Malkin cut it to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 12:16 of the third, but Oshie answered 56 seconds later to boost it to 5-2.

--Field Level Media