PITTSBURGH (AP) Tom Wilson made a trip home to Toronto last week to see his ailing grandfather, Jake Avery, one final time.

The veteran Washington Capitals forward and the man he called Grampy were close, and after Avery died at 95 on Thursday afternoon, Wilson honored him with a spectacular goal that Wilson hopes gives his team a jolt.

Wilson batted a puck out of the air and into the net less than two minutes in and Washington drilled the reeling Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0 on Thursday night.

“I know he was up there and I know he was pulling for the Caps,” Wilson said. “This one is for my family and for Grampy. That’s life. He had an amazing life. But I’m pretty happy to get this one for him.”

Wilson's short-handed goal set the tone in a game that seemed to signal two longtime rivals heading in opposite directions. Washington won for the sixth time in its last nine games to keep pace in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Penguins have dropped four of five and after the game traded star forward Jake Guentzel to Carolina.

“I think he did everything he possibly could in his time here,” longtime Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said before the trade was announced.

Guentzel, who helped Pittsburgh to the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2017, is dealing with an upper-body injury but is eligible to come off injured reserve on Sunday.

The deal signaled Pittsburgh's intention to get younger and turn its eye toward next season.

It's not that way in Washington. Not with star Alex Ovechkin rounding into form and some young legs showing signs of being ready to be difference-makers.

Ovechkin scored his 840th career goal and added an assist to move past Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey and into 15th on the NHL's career scoring list. The Russian superstar has 1,532 career points, one shy of Hall of Fame forward Mark Recchi in 14th.

The 38-year-old's 10th goal in his last 15 games - a rebound early in the second period that put Washington firmly in control - moved him to within 54 goals of Wayne Gretzky's NHL record career total of 894.

Charlie Lindgren, who got the start with Darcy Kuemper out with an illness, made 39 saves for his sixth career shutout.

“Just another example of these guys pulling together in a difficult situation, losing some players,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. "Goaltender steps up. Incredible performance from our entire group.”

Tristan Jarry was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 22 shots. Crosby was held without a point for a third straight game, the first time that's happened this season.

The listless performance came amid a stretch that included letting a two-goal third-period lead slip away in Calgary on Saturday, getting blown out in Edmonton the following day and constant speculation about well-established players like Guentzel headed elsewhere.

“I think the trade deadline time is always tough,” Crosby said.

Washington pulled away in the second. Ovechkin and Jensen scored less than three minutes apart early in the period and when the 22-year-old Hendrix Lapierre's spin-around shot from the slot beat Jarry to extend the advantage to 4-0, Jarry headed to the bench.

The 20-year-old Ivan Miroshnichenko scored his first career goal later in the period with a nifty move by a sprawled Alex Nedeljkovic as Washington showcased some of the fresh legs it hopes can help the club make a push over the final month of the season.


Capitals: Welcome Chicago to Capital One Arena on Saturday night.

Penguins: Travel to Boston on Saturday.


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