Washington Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov is set to get the start in goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Penguins Vs. Capitals: Washington Wins Second Straight Against Rival Pittsburgh

Minus their two biggest stars, the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Washington to take on the Capitals in a Winter Classic rematch.

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Capitals Defeat Penguins 3-0 In Winter Classic Rematch

The Washington Capitals break the Penguins five game winning streak with a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center. This is the eighth straight win for the Capitals on Super Bowl Sunday.

Brooks Laich got the scoring started off a John Erskine rebound with 1:38 left in the first period. The goal was assisted by John Erskine and Mathieu Perreault. The Capitals second goal came at the start of the second period on a Marcus Johansson shorthanded goal. Jeff Schultz got the puck on a Kris Letang turnover and got it to Johansson who went the length of the ice and backhanded it over Marc-Andre Fleury. The final Capitals goal came on a Mike Knuble empty net effort. 

A scary moment for the Washington Capitals came near the end of the first period when Mike Green took a puck to the head off a Brooks Orpik slapshot. Green was down on the ice for a few minutes and a significant pool of blood formed below him, but Green did get off the ice under his own power. Green did not return to the game and all the Capitals would say is that he is being evaluated. 

Matt Cooke created some controversy late in the third period as well with his knee on knee hit on Washington's Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin was able to play in the game as he went after Cooke shortly after the hit happened. Cooke has a reputation for throwing the dirty hit every now and then, with the most prominent being the hit on Boston's Marc Savard. 

Michael Neuvirth got the shutout for the Capitals, stopping all 22 shots he faced from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves on 23 shots in the losing effort for the Penguins. These two teams will face off again on February 21st in Pittsburgh. 

For more on this game, please visit our Penguins site, Pensburgh, and our Capitals site, Japers' Rink

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VIDEO: Matt Cooke Knees Alexander Ovechkin

Whether Matt Cooke intentionally did this or not, we won't know but it did happen. At the 16:18 mark of the third period, Cooke goes to throw a check on Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and leads with the knee. Here is the video: 

Ovechkin needed help to come off the ice but did return later in the game on the Capitals powerplay in the period. While the discussion will happen if Cooke will get suspended or not on the play, Matt Cooke does have a reputation for laying bad hits. 

The Penguins and Capitals started to get more emotion in the game and the spill over from the Winter Classic happened late in the third period. David Steckel fought Penguins newcomer Tim Wallace at the 7:52 mark of the third period and the scrum started to form around Cooke after the Ovechkin hit. The Penguins and Capitals will face off again in Pittsburgh in three weeks so the emotions of the series could start to spill over there as well. 

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Capitals Hold 2-0 Lead After Two Periods

The Washington Capitals continue to find the back of the net in the second period as Marcus Johansson scores a shorthanded goal on a Matt Hendricks penalty to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead at the end of the second period. Johansson grabbed the puck off of a Kris Letang turnover in the Penguins offensive zone and proceeded to go the length of the ice and backhand the shot over the right shoulder of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. 

After a very disciplined first period by both teams, the Penguins have started to lapse with three penalties in the second period. While the team has the league's best penalty kill, the Capitals still have some dangerous weapons to make the Penguins pay on the powerplay. The Capitals have scored back to back powerplay goals for the first time in a month and Ovechkin scored his first powerplay goal in three months on Friday.

Alexander Ovechkin has been relatively quiet in this game, with only three shots in 15;36 of ice time in the period. The Penguins have done a good job surrounding Ovechkin and making sure that he does not get good opportunities with the puck. 

Capitals goaltender Michael Neuvirth has made all 15 saves in the game thus far while Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has 16 saves on 18 shots through two periods. 

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Marcus Johansson Gives Capitals A 2-0 Lead In Second Period

The Pittsburgh Penguins have only given up four shorthanded goals thus far into the season. Marcus Johansson made that total five with his shorthanded goal in the second period to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Johansson grabbed the puck off a Kris Letang turnover and took the puck the length of the ice to backhand the puck over the right shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury. The goal ended up unassisted. 

The Capitals have taken it to the Penguins thus far into the second period as they are outshooting the Penguins 10-7 in the period and 18-12 overall in the game. Michael Neuvirth is having a solid game in net for the Capitals as he is pitching the shutout thus far into the game. Fleury has allowed both of the goals for the Penguins. 

The Penguins have managed to keep Alexander Ovechkin quiet thus far into the game as Ovechkin only has three shots in 11:45 of ice time. 

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VIDEO: Mike Green Blocks Shot With His Head Against Penguins

Mike Green leads the Washington Capitals with 104 blocked shots heading into Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. During the game, he blocked a shot in way that probably wasn't as comfortable as the other 104, he did it with the side of his head. Take a look at the video of the play that happened at the end of the first period:

Mike Green was down on the ice for a couple of minutes and it seemed that he lost a decent amount of blood. He has not returned to the game at the start of the second period as he is probably getting stitched up and his status at this point in the game is not known. The Capitals have not missed his production in the lineup as of yet though, they currently have a 2-0 lead over the Penguins and are outshooting the Penguins 11-8 with 15 minutes left in the second period. 

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Brooks Laich Gives Capitals 1-0 Lead At The End Of First Period

Brooks Laich scores the first goal for the Washington Capitals at the 18:22 mark of the first period to give the Washington Capitals a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. Laich grabbed a rebound from a John Erskine shot and puts in the goal. Mathieu Perreault records the other assist on the goal. 

A scary moment happened near the end of the first period as Capitals defenseman Mike Green took a puck off the side of the head from a Brooks Orpik slapshot. Green was down on the ice for a couple of minutes and had a sizeable gash on the side of his head. Green did leave the ice on his own and we will keep you updated on his status throughout the game. 

The Capitals are outshooting the Penguins 8-5 through the first period and neither team has taken a penalty thus far into the game. Both goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Michael Neuvirth have played fairly good games thus far into the game. Neuvirth has five saves while Fleury has seven saves. 

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Penguins Vs. Capitals: Super Bowl Matinee Provides A Winter Classic Rematch

The Pittsburgh Penguins start the Pittsburgh sports doubleheader as they head to Verizon Center to face the Washington Capitals. In what was supposed to be billed as a Winter Classic rematch, the Penguins will be without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Crosby has been out of the lineup since the game after the Classic with a concussion and Malkin will be out for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL and MCL against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. 

The Capitals have played host to a Super Bowl matinee for the last 18 years and have won the last seven, including a 5-4 overtime victory over the Penguins last year. Semyon Varlamov should be in net for the Penguins and is 2-0 in his career against the Penguins with a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Capitals have scored power-play goals in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 1 -2 and Alex Ovechkin scored his first power-play goal since Oct. 30 against the Lightning on Friday. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won their last five games and eight of their last 10. The Penguins are also 2-0 when they play a game on the same day as the Steelers play a playoff game. Marc-Andre Fleury should be in net for the Penguins while Tim Wallace has been called up to replace Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. 

Game time is 12:30 pm Eastern and can be found on NBC. For more information on this game, please visit our Penguins site, Pensburgh, and our Capitals site, Japers' Rink

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