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WASHINGTON (AP) — The calendar said December. The intensity felt like late spring.The third meeting this season between longtime rivals Pittsburgh and Washington featured tight checking Adidas Dennis Cholowski Jersey , strong goaltending and more than a few punches. The Penguins won 2-1 on Wednesday night, yet the Capitals appreciated the ferocity with which the game was played.“It was a good game, especially this time of year, one with playoff mentality,” Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said. “We haven’t had one of those since Vegas.”Holtby was referring to the 2018 Stanley Cup finals, when the Capitals beat the Golden Knights to earn their first championship.Washington came in with five straight wins and a 12-2 record since Nov. 14.“Obviously, you don’t want to end up on the losing side, but I think we did a lot of good things tonight and both teams played really well,” Holtby said. “It’s one you can really learn from.”Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins. They were scuffling along with a 15-12-6 record before playing one of their best games of the season.“We’ve got to build on it Adidas Wade Megan Jersey ,” Crosby said. “It’s a divisional game, a rivalry, a team that we’ve seen a lot, so these kind of intense, emotional games seem to bring out the best in us. We understand we need that same intensity, same desperation every night if we want to win.”It was the third meeting this season between the rivals, each of which has been decided by one goal. Pittsburgh has won two of them. In this one, Crosby had a hand in both Pittsburgh goals and logged more than 22 minutes.Facing Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals is all the motivation Crosby needs to bring his game to a higher level.“When you play these rival-type games, there’s an elevated level of emotion associated with it Adidas Evgeny Svechnikov Jersey ,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “My experience of being around Sid is that he’s at his best in those situations.”Rust broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period with his sixth goal in five games, and the Penguins held on behind goaltender Matt Murray, who stopped 31 shots.“They’re a heck of a team,” Murray said. “They won last year for a reason. They gave us all we could handle.”Ovechkin was held without a goal for the first time in seven games and had his career-high run of games with a point end at 14.In addition, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov had his streak of eight straight games with an assist come to an end, one shy of the franchise record.Lars Eller put the Capitals up 1-0 at 6:38 of the second period, pushing the puck past Murray after taking a lead pass from Tom Wilson.Crosby tied it less than three minutes later, deflecting a pass from Evgeni Malkin into the right side of the net with Pittsburgh on the power play.Rust made it 2-1 with just over a minute left in the period, hacking away at the puck in front of the net before it finally popped Holtby.In the third period Adidas Jonathan Bernier Jersey , Holtby snagged a shot by Malkin on a breakaway to keep Washington within striking distance.Twice over the final 20 minutes, Kuznetsov took shots that slipped through Murray’s legs, only to be swatted away by Pittsburgh defensemen an inch before sliding past the goal line.Early on, it was apparent that this wasn’t just another midseason game. With less than a minute elapsed, Wilson and Pittsburgh defenseman Jamie Oleksiak shed their gloves and got into a fight. Oleksiak was helped off the ice with a cut on his cheek, and both players received five-minute penalties. Oleksiak did not return.Four minutes later, Ovechkin and Kris Letang traded blows behind the Pittsburgh net before being sent to the penalty box for roughing.The scoreless first period featured more penalty minutes (18) than shots on goal (17).NOTES: The Capitals’ run of 14 straight games with at least three goals ended. … Crosby took over the team lead in points with 38. Crosby, Phil Kessell and Malkin all entered with 36. …. The Capitals fell to 9-4-3 when taking at least 30 shots. … Pittsburgh has earned point in seven of nine games and 12 of 16. … Crosby has 35 goals and 63 assists in 73 games against the Ovechkin-led Capitals. Ovechkin has 46 goals and 37 assists in those games.UP NEXTPenguins: Host Minnesota on Thursday night.Capitals: Host Buffalo on Friday night, a rematch of Saturday’s game won by Washington in overtime. COLUMBUS Adidas Paul Thompson Jersey , Ohio (AP) — Columbus coach John Tortorella had trouble explaining how his team could blow a two-goal lead in the third period Saturday night only to come back and win 31 seconds into overtime. Finally, he resorted to quoting Forrest Gump.“It’s a box of chocolates — you just never know what you’re going to get from shift to shift at certain times,” Tortorella said. “I guess that’s just what the game is.” Panarin’s shot from the left circle glanced off the far post and into the net to give the Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, who had scored a pair of goals in a two-minute span of the third period to erase the deficit and force the extra period.That all came after Cam Atkinson scored two goals in 31 seconds of the second period to give Columbus what looked like a comfortable lead.“I just don’t understand it sometimes,” Tortorella said. “But we found a way to get two points.”Atkinson and Panarin each had two goals and an assist, and Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists, including the pass to Panarin low in the circle that set up the overtime goal.Joonas Korpisalo stopped 34 shots and is undefeated in four starts for the Blue Jackets, who won their second straight and ended a three-game winning streak for Buffalo.Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville each had a goal and an assist, and backup goalie Linus Ullmark — who previously had given up just one goal in two starts this season — had 32 saves for Buffalo. Kyle Okposo got his third goal of the season for Buffalo 1:38 into the game on a 2-on-1 rush. Dubois evened it with a snipe from the middle of the right circle later in the first Adidas Troy Brouwer Jersey , with Panarin getting his fourth primary assist in the past two games. Skinner got a fortunate deflection right onto his stick at the bottom of the right circle and slipped the puck between Korpisalo and the near post to get his team-leading sixth goal and make it 2-1 Sabres at the end of the first.Dubois returned the favor to his linemate early in the second with a feed that led to Panarin’s finish from the left circle to tie it again.Atkinson’s pair in the second period gave Columbus a 4-2 lead, but Buffalo got goals in the third from Pominville and then Casey Middelstadt on a power play to even the score and set up Panarin’s overtime heroics.“He’s one of the best players in the league, and it kind of showed in this game,” Ullmark said. “It was a good shot.”Buffalo was trying to win four straight for the first time since 2014. It didn’t happen, but coach Phil Housley was pleased with the effort.“I have to give credit to our guys for finding a way to battle back,” he said. “We would have loved to have won that game in overtime, but getting a point after being two down in the third period says a lot about our group.”NOTES: Atkinson’s fifth and sixth tallies of the season in a 31-second span of the second period broke a franchise record for quickest back-to-back goals…. Sabres F Evan Rodrigues missed the game because he returned to Buffalo for personal reasons. … The Blue Jackets had a three-goal second period for the second straight game and the fifth time this season. … Columbus F Markus Hannikainen replaced Sonny Milano for the second straight game. … Pominville has four goals and four assists in the last four games.UP NEXTBuffalo: Hosts Calgary on Tuesday night.Columbus: Hosts Detroit on Tuesday night.