Penguins Beat Capitals 3-2, Take 1-0 Series Lead

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored just 17 seconds into the contest to give the Caps an early lead and a 1-0 advantage at the first intermission. After a scoreless middle frame, Alex Ovechkin made it 2-0 early in the final frame before the Penguins responded with three unanswered goals to take the lead early in the third period. And that would be the final. Game 2 is set for Sunday at 3:00 p.m. At Capital One Arena.

Braden Holtby (4-1, 1.92 GAA, .932 sv%) started between the pipes for the Capitals. Matt Murray (4-2, 2.20 GAA, .911 sv%) started in goal for the Penguins. The Capitals starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the game:

Forward lines:
Defensive pairs:

Scratches: Shane Gersich, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerebek and Andre Burakovsky (upper body injury).

The Capitals wasted just 17 seconds to light the lamp in this one. Alex Ovechkin fed Evgeny Kuznetsov for the first goal of the series at 0:17 of the opening frame. Ovechkin and Tom Wilson were credited with the assists.

And that would be all of the scoring in a furious first period. Pittsburgh outshot Washington 9-6 for the first 20 minutes. Caps won the faceoff battle 61-39%. There were no penalties.

The Capitals and Penguins were scoreless in the middle frame. Washington outshot Pittsburgh 10-8 in the second period. The Penguins were 0 for 1 and the Capitals 0 for 0 on the man advantage in the middle frame.

The Capitals would stretch their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Alex Ovechkin just 28 seconds into the final frame. Tom Wilson and Dmitry Orlov were credited with the assists.

The Penguins respond with a goal from Patric Hornqvist at 2:59 of the third period.

The Penguins tied the game with a goal from Sidney Crosby at 5:20 of the final frame.

The Penguins would take the lead on a goal Jake Guentzel at 7:48 of the third period.

The Penguins would hang on for the 3-2 win.


  • Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 17 seconds into the game. That’s two seconds shy of the Capitals’ franchise record for the fastest goal to start a playoff game (Mike Gartner: 15 seconds, April 8, 1987 versus New York Islanders).
  • In the Ovechkin era, the Capitals are now 4-4 in a playoff series when they drop Game 1. They’re 3-5 when they win Game 1. (Ted Starkey).
  • The NHL box score is here.


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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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14 Responses to Penguins Beat Capitals 3-2, Take 1-0 Series Lead

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Best of seven.

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    They BETTER win Sunday since it’s so much harder to come back from a deficit against the Pens than against Columbus. (Still, the game sometimes makes me wonder if the Pens have “Devil Magic” of some sort. Rationally, I should not thing so but…….)

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