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Penguins edge struggling Capitals

The Penguins’ Chris Kunitz, right, leads the celebration of his goal that ends up the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Capitals.

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The Penguins’ Chris Kunitz, right, leads the celebration of his goal that ends up the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Capitals.

WASHINGTON — Chris Kunitz scored the tiebreaking goal at 2:36 of the third period and the Penguins beat Washington 2-1 Thursday to keep the Capitals winless under new coach Dale Hunter.

The Penguins improved to 4-1-1 since captain Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup Nov. 21 after an 11-month absence because of a concussion.

Jason Chimera got his team-leading 10th goal for the Capitals. That matches his output of last season.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots, but the Capitals couldn't back his effort with any firepower. They took only 17 shots against Marc-Andre Fleury.

This was Washington's second straight loss since Hunter, a former Capitals star, replaced fired Bruce Boudreau on Monday. Washington has lost four straight and seven of nine.

Crosby was held without a point for the second time in six games since his return. He has two goals and nine assists.

With two of its top four defensemen — Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek — out with concussion symptoms, Pittsburgh recalled Simon Despres from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and in his NHL debut, Despres, 20, got the second assist on Kunitz's goal.

game highlights: The Rangers got points from 14 players in a 5-3 win over the host Hurricanes, winless in two games under new coach Kirk Muller.

Boudreau takes over Ducks from Carlyle

Bruce Boudreau ran his first practice with the Ducks, a few hours after Anaheim abruptly fired Randy Carlyle as coach. Anaheim made the move less than an hour after the Ducks got a rare win this season, 4-1 over the Canadiens at home Wednesday.

Boudreau got the job two days after he was fired as the Capitals' coach. He said he had planned to do a little television work but couldn't resist the chance to take over a roster with Anaheim's depth and talent.

"If I didn't believe that this was a team that had … the makings of something special, I think I would have sat home and waited," Boudreau said after practice.

The players were shocked by the firing of Carlyle, who coached the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007. They figured a trade was more likely; rumors had circulated the previous two days that top-three forward Bobby Ryan was the leading candidate.

"I'm shocked," said veteran Teemu Selanne, who formed a close bond with Carlyle during the Cup run. "I'm really disappointed we didn't do better."

Ryan said he found out about the firing in a text message from his girlfriend on his way home after the game.

"I thought it might be a fire sale, so I looked to see if there were any other missed calls or missed texts," he said. "There was relief, but you also feel like you let down the coaches."

Anaheim, is off to a perplexing 7-13-4 start and is in 14th place in the Western Conference with three wins in the past 19 games.

General manager Bob Murray said he thought a new voice was needed.

"It was just the way we were losing, the body language," Murray said. "I just don't think they believe in themselves anymore, and I hadn't seen that (before)."

around the league: Bruins center David Krejci signed a three-year contract extension worth a reported $15.75 million. … Canucks wing Mason Raymond, who broke his back during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final against the Bruins in June, was scheduled to make his season debut in a late game against the Predators. … Forward Mike Grier, 36, one of the first black players to have been born, raised and trained in the United States, retired after a 14-season career with the Sabres, Capitals, Sharks and Oilers.

Penguins 1 0 1 2
at Capitals 0 1 0 1
Penguins 1 0 1 2
at Capitals 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Adams 2 (Asham, Park), 5:21. PenaltiesAsham, Pit, major (fighting), 5:27; Erskine, Was, major (fighting), 5:27; Eakin, Was (high-sticking), 11:08.

Second Period2, Washington, Chimera 10 (Ward, Laich), 1:20. PenaltiesOvechkin, Was (interference), 7:22; Staal, Pit (charging), 11:47; Despres, Pit (holding), 15:57; Alzner, Was (holding), 18:52.

Third Period3, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 9 (Kennedy, Despres), 2:36. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 13-12-10—35. Washington 4-11-2—17. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 0 of 3; Washington 0 of 2. GoaliesPittsburgh, Fleury 14-4-2 (17 shots-16 saves). Washington, Vokoun 10-7-0 (35-33).

Rangers 1 3 1 5
at Hurricanes 2 1 0 3

First Period1, Carolina, Tlusty 5 (Bra.Sutter), :35. 2, NYR, Callahan 10 (Richards, Del Zotto), 1:42 (pp). 3, Carolina, Skinner 11 (Pitkanen, E.Staal), 19:51. PenaltiesFaulk, Car (tripping), 1:00; Prust, NYR (tripping), 9:50; Carolina bench, served by Nodl (too many men), 17:27.

Second Period4, NYR, McDonagh 4 (Dubinsky, Girardi), 8:54. 5, NYR, Gaborik 12 (Anisimov, Woywitka), 11:50. 6, NYR, Avery 3 (Gaborik, Stepan), 13:47. 7, Carolina, Joslin 1 (E.Staal, Ruutu), 17:47. PenaltiesPitkanen, Car (holding), 6:42.

Third Period8, NYR, Sauer 1 (Boyle, Hagelin), 5:42. PenaltiesBoyle, NYR, major (fighting), 10:34; Stewart, Car, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 10:34. Shots on GoalNYR 11-12-4—27. Carolina 9-14-8—31. Power-play opportunitiesNYR 1 of 4; Carolina 0 of 1. GoaliesNYR, Biron 4-1-0 (31 shots-28 saves). Carolina, Ward 8-12-3 (27-22).

Penguins edge struggling Capitals 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 11:07pm]
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