Whitney scored the second and fourth Penguins goals, but it was Sidney Crosby's second-period goal past a stickless Olaf Kolzig that was the most memorable.
Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 113 points, took the puck behind the net and tipped it past the sprawling Kolzig to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead at 6:21 of the second period. Moments before, the Penguins' Gary Roberts slammed into Washington's goalie causing Kolzig's stick to sputter out of his hand, and settle to the right side of the goal.
With its third straight win, Pittsburgh moved a step closer to clinching a spot in the playoffs. The Penguins needed a victory and a New York Islanders loss to the New Jersey Devils to guarantee their playoff berth.
In his second season, Crosby led his team to its fourth straight win this season over Alex Ovechkin's Capitals. Crosby, the No. 1 pick in 2005, who assisted on Whitney's first goal, scored two goals and assisted on three others against Washington this season. Ovechkin, the first pick in 2004, did not score a goal in four games against Pittsburgh this season, but had three assists.