WASHINGTON (AP) – Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby grabbed the headlines before Evgeni Malkin stole the show.

The ballyhooed matchup of last season’s top two rookies lived up to the hype, but Malkin – this year’s leading rookie – was the star on Monday night.

He notched a goal and assisted on one by Crosby in regulation, then scored the decisive tally in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins erased a four-goal deficit and beat Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals 5-4.

Erik Christensen also scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, 2-3-1 in the past six games.

Capitals captain Chris Clark had two goals and two assist for the Capitals, who led 4-0 in the second period but couldn’t hold on for their sixth win in seven games.

The Penguins stormed back with goals in the middle frame from Maxime Talbot, Christensen and Crosby, who scored for the fourth straight game.

Malkin tied it 3:20 into the third period.

Blues fire Kitchen

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Blues, last in the NHL standings again despite a change in ownership and several player upgrades, fired coach Mike Kitchen on Monday night and replaced him with former Los Angeles Kings coach Andy Murray.

Blues president John Davidson told The Associated Press that Murray received a longterm contract after negotiations in New York on Sunday.

“We realize we’re a team that’s got a long way to go,” Davidson said.

“We just felt we needed to take a step like this to move forward.”

The Blues are 7-17-4 with 18 points and have lost seven in a row. Davidson said Murray will be on the bench Tuesday night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis hasn’t won since earning consecutive shootout victories at Columbus and Detroit on Nov. 22-24. The Blues have one point during their slide.


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