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Malkin's 3 assists help Penguins earn 1st win of season over Capitals

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WASHINGTON — Sidney Crosby scored his 20th goal of the season, Evgeni Malkin added three assists, and the Pittsburgh Penguins held on to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Wednesday night, averting a sweep of the season series.

Patric Hornqvist, Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz also had goals for Pittsburgh, which has won three straight and leads Washington by three points for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Crosby and Malkin both netted their first points of the season against Washington, which won the first three meetings by a combined score of 10-1.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots, including Joel Ward's breakaway attempt in the second period.

Alex Ovechkin's power play tally, his NHL-leading 39th goal of the season, made it 4-3 with 3:34 left in the game, but Fleury made several saves in the final minutes to preserve Pittsburgh's win.

John Carlson and Troy Brouwer both had a goal and an assist for the Capitals. Jason Chimera had two assists, and Braden Holtby made 22 saves.

He came in with a 1.63 goals against average in his last 11 starts (7-3-1).

Both teams converted one of six power plays, but Pittsburgh added a short-handed goal.

PHOTO: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck against Washington Capitals' Matt Niskanen (2) and Brooks Orpik (44) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Penguins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck against Washington Capitals' Matt Niskanen (2) and Brooks Orpik (44) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Penguins won 4-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Capitals pulled to within one when Brouwer swatted in his own rebound at 4:09 of the third.

Pittsburgh regained its cushion just over three minutes later, however, after Malkin stripped the puck from Evgeny Kuznetsov and started a rush that ended with Kunitz scoring off a rebound.

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead at 7:04 of the first period, before the Capitals registered a shot.

Malkin carried in and dropped the puck back to Hornqvist in the right circle. He fired a shot past Holtby to the far side for his 19th goal.

Shortly after the first goal, a four-man scrum spilled into the Penguins bench area and put two players from each team in the penalty box for roughing.

Sutter's short-handed goal made it 2-0 at 18:33. Washington's Matt Niskanen dropped the puck back, and it sailed all the way into the Capitals zone. Sutter got to it first and scored on a backhand.

Washington got within 2-1 in the final minute of the first when Carlson's one-timer beat Fleury with 8.6 seconds left.

The Penguins took a 3-1 lead in the second, cashing in on one of their six power plays in the period when Crosby, using a pair of Capitals for a screen, sent a wrist shot past Holtby from the right circle at 3:16.

NOTES: Pittsburgh D Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) returned after missing 12 games. ... The Penguins acquired F Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs for F Zach Sill and two draft picks. ... NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in Washington for an event at the Aspen Institute, attended the game.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) reaches for the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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