WASHINGTON — It was a game of disputed deflections and odd bounces, with the puck behaving more like that oblong ball with the laces more commonly associated with Super Bowl Sunday. The strangest carom of all came on a simple dump-in that hit a stanchion along the glass and went into a net deserted by a befuddled goaltender.
The Pittsburgh Penguins weren't fazed by that bit of misfortune that tied the game in the second period, just as Washington Capitals couldn't take advantage of the stroke of luck. The third annual Super Bowl warm-up between the Eastern Conference rivals soon turned into a rout, with Chris Kunitz getting a hat trick in the visitors' 6-3 victory.
I really like our team responding to that bad bounce that happened on the wall, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. Now it's 2-2 — and our team responded well with the penalty kill and getting some goals.
Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Matt Cooke also scored, Sidney Crosby had three assists, and Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves against his former team for the Penguins, who have won three straight and four of five to lead the Atlantic Division.
In a game that reflected both teams' fortunes so far in the lockout-shortened season, the Penguins had the luxury of spending the postgame talking about who actually should have received credit for their half-dozen goals.
Kunitz thought he scored four instead of three, saying he got his stick on the puck to redirect Martin's shot from the point in the first period. And Cooke was given a redirect goal on a shot from Deryk Engelland that seemed instead to hit Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz.
I didn't know they took the other one away from me, Kunitz said. That's how it bounces. No one really cares around here. ... We're worried about the two points.
Then came the bizarre 80-footer from Capitals defenseman John Carlson, an obvious dump-in that Vokoun retreated behind the net to intercept. Vokoun then tripped trying to get back to the crease when he saw the puck take the unexpected change of direction along the glass.
Vokoun said he's allowed a similar goal only once before — about a dozen years ago in Chicago.
I remember that game in Chicago. We lost, Vokoun said. This one doesn't feel as bad.
The Penguins then had to kill off a penalty, but they took the lead for good when Letang and Kunitz beat Braden Holtby glove side 37 seconds apart. Washington coach Adam Oates thought about pulling Holtby at that point but decided against it.
Either way, the Capitals were on their heels.
I think the biggest thing is just our mental game right now isn't strong enough, Holtby said. We're playing a good team game. It's just those little breakdowns, and like myself on that third goal.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Defenseman Brian Campbell scored on the power play with 10:33 remaining to cap Florida's three-goal rally and the Panthers beat Buffalo.
Peter Mueller, George Parros and Shawn Matthias also scored for the Panthers, who won their first road game of the season and snapped a seven-game road winless drought (0-5-2) dating to last season. Florida (3-5) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win two straight since enduring a five-game skid.
Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson had a goal and assist each, and Alexander Sulzer also scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 1-5-1 since opening the season with two wins.
The Sabres were playing their third game in four days.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for his 22nd career shutout, leading New Jersey to a win over the Islanders.
Steve Bernier scored for New Jersey in the third period and David Clarkson added an empty-netter to help the Devils snap a four-game winless streak (0-1-3).
New York (4-3-1) outshot the Devils 10-7 in a high-tempo first period, while New Jersey (4-1-3) implemented its trademark defensive system in the second.
Hedberg's biggest save came 8:08 into the third period when he stoned New York right wing Michael Grabner on a short-handed breakaway with the game scoreless.
MONTREAL — David Desharnais and Erik Cole scored first-period goals and Montreal held on for a victory over Ottawa.
The win completed a sweep of weekend matinees at home for Montreal (6-2-0) after a 6-1 win Saturday over the Buffalo Sabres. The Canadiens have won five straight at home after dropping their home opener to Toronto on Jan. 19. Jakob Silfverberg scored for Ottawa (5-3-1), which was coming off a 1-0 loss at Carolina on Friday night. Senators goalie Craig Anderson has not conceded a goal after the first period in eight games this season.