PITTSBURGH, NOV. 24 -- Mike Liut is a pro and as such, made no excuses.

"I don't know what I did, but it was just a very bad goal and it cost us the game," Liut said after the Pittsburgh Penguins beat Liut and the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in overtime tonight. "It's almost too bad to even explain."

The Penguins didn't win this game on Liut's miscue on Paul Coffey's tying goal with less than six minutes left, but it did give them a chance to do so. With that opportunity -- made golden by an unusual penalty assessed to the Capitals by referee Kerry Fraser -- the Penguins' Mark Recchi scored 71 seconds into overtime to break the Penguins three-game losing streak and the Capitals' three-game winning streak.

The 16,164 on hand at the Civic Arena saw bodies flying for much of the night, more than a dozen power plays and a much closer game than these two teams played 24 hours earlier.

Friday night in Landover, the Capitals beat the Penguins, 7-3, at their own game of firewagon hockey. This one was closer, more to the Capitals' liking, especially after Kevin Hatcher's two goals gave them a 2-1 third-period lead.

But by the end of the evening, Capitals Coach Terry Murray was fuming. If you looked closely, you could almost see the smoke come from his ears. The sources of his anger and disappointment were several.

Murray had a hot goalie in rookie Jim Hrivnak, who had been in the net for those past three victories. But with 6:24 left in the second period and the score tied, 1-1, Hrivnak hobbled to the locker room.

"When I went to the butterfly, my {left} knee went out," said Hrivnak, who was walking with a limp afterward and will be checked by a team doctor Monday. "I haven't ever been hurt in my life, so the timing is not good. It could be a couple days, but I don't have a clue."

Murray would not say so directly -- there are fines for such things -- but it was obvious he was unhappy with several calls or non-calls by Fraser late in the game. The Penguins had complained louder in the first 50 minutes, but it was the Capitals who felt mistreated in the closing minutes.

Though Murray wasn't thrilled with a boarding penalty given to John Druce with 3:37 left, the call that really riled him came when Recchi was taken down by Mike Lalor with 44 seconds left in regulation. The penalty carried over into overtime and Recchi scored with five seconds left in Lalor's penalty.

"It makes it tough when you go shorthanded twice in the last three minutes in the other team's building," Murray said.

He also was upset that no call was made when Zarley Zalapski's stick caught Bob Joyce in the face, leaving the Capitals' left wing with stitches around his right eye to go with those already above his left. But in the Joyce situation, it was an accident. As Joyce said, "I lost a wheel and as I was falling the stick got me."

Joyce said he was fine. Druce, who caught an elbow in the face and hit the ice with a thud with 1:12 left, said he was all right. Defenseman Mikhail Tatarinov never made it into the game. His back tightened up during the second half of Friday's game, so he sat out and Chris Felix was called up from Baltimore to take his place.

The Capitals will have Sunday off and two more days to recover before they must play the New York Rangers.

Unlike Friday's wild affair, in which the Capitals set a team record with three goals in 21 seconds, this was a tighter-checking contest.

Hrivnak had little work in the first period, as the Capitals outshot the Penguins, 17-3. Goaltender Frank Pietrangelo, who was pulled after the first period Friday, was back in the net for the Penguins and kept the Capitals at bay. They entered the game with the NHL's best penalty-killing and power-play units. But by the end of the night, the Capitals were just one for eight on the power play.

Hatcher's first goal came during a two-man advantage and gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead with 4:14 gone in the second period. But on the Penguins' two-man advantage, Tony Tanti deflected Coffey's slap shot in for a 1-1 tie going to the third period.

Hatcher beat Pietrangelo for a 2-1 lead with just 2:24 left in the third. But by then Hrivnak was gone and Liut was in, making his first appearance in a week. On the tying goal, Coffey carried the puck in deep and let a wrist shot go from below the faceoff circle. Somehow, it snuck through for a 2-2 tie with 5:35 left.

Once in overtime and on the power play, Kevin Stevens fed Recchi across the goalmouth and the Penguins were winners.

"He made it," Lalor said of he call. "But I shouldn't have been in a position to have to take him down."