With Sidney Crosby out with an injury, Evgeni Malkin has been doing his best to carry the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Against fellow Russian star Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, Malkin's stellar play wasn't enough.
Ovechkin finished off an exceptional game scoring one of Washington's two goals in the shootout against goalie Ty Conklin, and the Capitals came from behind to beat Pittsburgh 6-5 Monday night.
Ovechkin and Malkin each had two goals and an assist in a wide-open game. A good shift by one of the talented forwards would be followed by a better shift by the other. They figured in five goals - with each scoring twice - in a hectic 12-minute span.
``I thought it was a great show of two young superstars trying to be king of the hill,'' Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.
However, Malkin, 0-for-5 in shootout attempts this season, never got the puck in the shootout. Penguins coach Michel Therrien went with three other skaters, with only Jarkko Ruutu beating goalie Olaf Kolzig.
Ovechkin scored Washington's first goal in the shootout on a backhand and Alexander Semin had the decisive goal.
In other NHL games Monday, it was Carolina 3, the Islanders 2 in overtime; Phoenix 6, Buffalo 2; Nashville 6, St. Louis 3; and Minnesota 4, Vancouver 2.
Malkin promised Friday after Crosby was lost indefinitely with a high ankle sprain to try to replace Crosby's missing offense. So far he has with three goals and an assist in Pittsburgh's first two games without Crosby.
``Yeah, we lost our best player and you can't really replace him,'' Malkin said, speaking through interpreter George Firman. ``It's not (only) me, everybody has to keep up with every game.''
Malkin had to be very good in this game merely to stay with Ovechkin.
``I just play for the team. It doesn't matter if you're Russian or Canadian,'' Ovechkin said after the Capitals won their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games to get above .500 at 22-21-5. ``It's a game, and I think nobody has friends on the ice.''
For all the goals, it was Malkin's hard check of Ovechkin near the end of the first that got the sellout crowd going, chanting his nickname of ``Geno, Geno, Geno.'' Malkin, normally not a physical player, sent Ovechkin flying by lowering his shoulder as Malkin carried the puck behind the Washington net.
``If I didn't hit him, maybe he scored more goals, who knows?'' Ovechkin said despite getting the worst of the collision. ``I can't hear after the game, 'What are you doing, why didn't you hit him?'''
Ovechkin obviously wasn't intimidated, scoring a power-play goal less than 2 minutes into the second period on a soft shot that almost fluttered as it landed behind goalie Dany Sabourin, putting Washington up 3-2.
Malkin, who took seven of the Penguins' 15 shots, responded less than 2 minutes later with his 26th goal by snapping off a shot from the slot, only 16 seconds after Pittsburgh went on another power play.
The Penguins, outshot 30-15, made it 4-3 less than 3 minutes later on another power play, as Ryan Whitney faked a shot from the top of the left circle before sliding the puck to Petr Sykora at the right side of the net.
Ovechkin, of course, came back less than 2 minutes after that with his league-best 38th goal, a slap shot from the left circle that led Therrien to pull Sabourin and bring in Conklin.
Predators 6, Blues 2
At Nashville, Tenn., Alexander Radulov and Marun Gelinas each had two goals and an assist, and Nashville beat slumping St. Louis.
Nashville improved to 7-2-2 in its past 11 games. Chris Mason finished with 31 saves.
Brad Boyes, Dan Hinote and Keith Tkachuk scored for the Blues, who have lost five straight.
Shea Weber had a power-play goal and Scott Nichol also beat Manny Legace to help Nashville take a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Wild 4, Canucks 2
At Vancouver, British Columbia, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored twice, including the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, and had two assists to lead Minnesota.
Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu also scored, and Niklas Backstrom made 38 saves as Minnesota moved into first place in the tight Northwest Division, one point ahead of Calgary and Colorado, and two up on slumping Vancouver.
Alexandre Burrows and Taylor Pyatt scored, and Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots for the Canucks, who have just one win and three points in their past seven games.
Hurricanes 3, Islanders 2, OT
At Uniondale, N.Y., defensemen Mike Commodore and Niclas Wallin scored in the third period, and Cory Stillman had the power-play winner in overtime for Carolina.
New York carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, but Commodore and Wallin each broke 11-game goal droughts to get the Hurricanes even.
Andy Hilbert and Miroslav Satan scored second-period goals for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro finished with 26 saves for the Islanders.
Cam Ward stopped 23 shots for the Hurricanes.
Coyotes 6, Sabres 2
At Glendale, Ariz., Shane Doan scored one of three Phoenix goals in a span of just over 5 1/2 minutes of the second period and the Coyotes handed Buffalo its franchise-record eighth consecutive road loss.
The Sabres have five games left on a seven-game trip.
Doan, who also had an assist, extended his career-best points streak to 11 games. Niko Kapanen and Derek Morris also scored in the second-period barrage against backup Buffalo goalie Jocelyn Thibault.
Peter Mueller, Daniel Winnik and Ed Jovanovski also scored for Phoenix.
Paul Gaustad and Thomas Vanek had goals for Buffalo.

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Kings load up for stretch run   The NHL trade deadline doesn’t pass until later in the week. Los Angeles, though, launched a major pre-emptive strike over the weekend.
Thumbnail Toews & Co. rounding into form On Friday, the Blues showed center Patrik Berglund the money. Will they make Central Division rival Chicago pay the price tonight?
Thumbnail East barn-burner on tap in nation's capital Connor McDavid has already accomplished a great deal during his brief career. But can the 20-year-old wunderkind power Edmonton past the league-leading...
Thumbnail New York still has work to do down the stretch The Rangers’ recent power-play drought is well-documented. Nonetheless, special teams issues certainly haven’t curtailed New York’s charge up the...
Thumbnail Gibson and Co. in need of bounce-back effort Fans and pundits alike raised their eyebrows when the Bruins relieved coach Claude Julien of his duties on Feb. 7. Now, though, any and all apprehension...

NHL Team Pages