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PRO HOCKEY: Green scores winner for Caps

CHUCK MYERS / McCLATCHY–TRIBUNE The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin celebrates his second-period goal against the Canucks in the second period Friday night.

CAPITALS 4, CANUCKS 3

WASHINGTON—Mike Green netted the go-ahead goal in the third period, Alex Ovechkin also scored, Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists for his first NHL points, in the Washington Capitals’ 4–3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

Washington led 3–1 early in the third before Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen scored for Vancouver to tie it.

Green put the Capitals ahead for good with 9:41 left, scoring with a slap shot off a feed from Nicklas Backstrom from behind the net.

Joel Ward and Tom Wilson also scored for the Capitals. Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves.

Jordan Schroeder scored Vancouver’s goal, and Chris Higgins and Christopher Tanev both had two assists. Eddie Lack stopped 17 shots.

The night got off to a difficult start for the Canucks, whose bus broke down. Players then took cabs to the arena.

Ward opened the scoring for Washington, but the second period belonged to Kuznetsov, who signed with the Capitals last week.

Kuznetsov assisted during a power play as Ovechkin finished with a slap shot for his NHL-leading 45th goal that made it 2-1.

Less than five minutes later, Kuznetsov faked a slap shot from the left wing and fed the puck to Wilson for his third goal. The 21-year-old Kuznetsov, playing in his third NHL game, also earned an assist on Green’s winner.

NOTES

The Canucks learned on Friday they will be without C Ryan Kesler for two weeks. Kesler injured his knee in a 3-2 shootout victory Wednesday over Winnipeg.

 

PENGUINS’ NEAL OUT WITH CONCUSSION

PITTSBURGH—Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Coach Dan Bylsma says Neal told coaches he “wasn’t feeling normal” on Thursday morning, missed practice and was diagnosed with a concussion later in day. Neal played Wednesday night in the Penguins’ victory over Washington, playing nearly 15 minutes and registering five shots on goal. There is no timetable for Neal’s return.

Neal has 22 goals and 27 assists in 44 games this season for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins but has struggled lately.

While Neal is out, forward Chris Kunitz will be a game-time decision when Pittsburgh plays at Philadelphia on Saturday. Kunitz returned to practice on Friday after sitting out Thursday with “bumps and bruises.”

 

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