3 stars of the game: 4-goal period lifts Penguins past Caps

At first, Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins felt an awful lot like Wednesday's contest against the Philadelphia Flyers. Washington gave the first two goals of the game, but was able to battle back to tie it heading into the third. This time, however, Washington was not able to finish off their opponent. Pittsburgh took control with four goals in the third period to chase Braden Holtby and chase the Caps 7-4.

The Caps overcame a 2-0 and 3-1 deficit to tie the game at 3 in the second period. Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin traded goals in the first two minutes of the third and then Pittsburgh took over with three straight goals to finish off Washington.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Evgeni Malkin: Malkin took this game over in the third period. With the score tied at 3, Malkin scored just 61 seconds into the period.

He later assisted on Phil Kessel's goal as Pittsburgh took a 6-4 lead and scored his second of the period on the power play about two minutes later. It was a four-point night for a player already named the NHL's First Star of the month for January.

2. Alex Ovechkin: Late in the first period with the Caps down 2-0, Ovechkin scored a critical goal to get the Caps on the board and it was a pretty one. Ovechkin sped his way into the offensive zone, gained the corner on Kris Letang and powered his way to the net. His hard work was rewarded as his initial shot was blocked, but the rebound hit off Brian Dumoulin and in.

Ovechkin also scored in the third period just 49 seconds after Evgeni Malkin to tie the game at 4 and he also assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal for a three-point night.

3. Phil Kessel: Kessel gave the Pittsburgh crowd something to cheer early in the game as he put the Penguins up 1-0 just over two minutes in.

His second goal may well have been the decisive marker. Bryan Rust put Pittsburgh up 5-4 in the third period, but Kessel's goal less than two minutes later solidified that this game was getting away from Washington. Kessel finished with three points.