Malkin wins showdown with Ovi

Malkin wins showdown with Ovi
January 23, 2012, 12:24 am
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PITTSBURGH Their careers have been compared and contrasted since the day the Capitals took Alex Ovechkin with the first pick of the 2004 NHL draft and the Penguins followed by taking Evgeni Malkin second overall.

On Sunday, the two talented Russians did not disappoint in yet another memorable head-to-head matchup.

Both players scored a goal and assisted on two others as the Penguins prevailed, 4-3, on Malkins overtime game-winner.

So how have Malkin and Ovechkin fared in their 20 head-to-head matches since entering the NHL?

Ovechkin now has 14 goals to Malkins eight.

Malkin has 21 assists to Ovechkins 12.

Malkin has nine multi-point games to Ovechkins eight.

In total, that gives Malkin a 29-26 advantage in head-to-head points.

As for their career numbers, Ovechkin still holds a significant edge. In 522 career games, he has 321 goals and 332 assists for 653 points and a plus-84 rating. In 393 career games, Malkin has 184 goals and 292 assists for 476 points and a plus-37 rating.

Mathieu Perreault learned hed be centering the Capitals top line when he arrived at the Consol Energy Center Sunday morning and found out Marcus Johansson was too sick to play.

After a rough first period for Perreault and the rest of the Capitals, the 24-year-old center settled in to play a season-high 16:22 and set up goals by linemates Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin.

He played well, Capitals coach Dale Hunter said of Perreault, who was a healthy scratch in three of the previous five games. He had a good game going and he got some minutes. I thought he did a great job.

Perreault said he was happy to get an opportunity to play with two of the NHLs top players.

It was a good chance for me to show what I can do when I get more ice time and play with good players, he said. We seemed to get a good amount of speed in the neutral zone and our goals came off the rush.

Brooks Laich shadowed Malkin nearly the entire game, and his numbers showed it.

Laich took 39 shifts and logged a team-high 27:57 of ice time. He played 4:06 on the power play, 3:06 on the penalty kill and 20:45 at even strength. He also took a game-high 39 faceoffs, winning 17 of them.

The Caps pretty much got what they deserved on their road trip, finishing their their three-game trip with a 1-1-1 mark.

We wanted to be better in Carolina, Hunter said. We didnt play as well as we should have. We played .500, and weve got to be better than that.

If not for a sleepy first period that generated just four shots, the Caps might have pulled out a win in Pittsburgh.

I think the first period was terrible, Ovechkin said. We didnt have any play in their zone. The second period we were finding room in he neutral zone and we fought back to take the lead.