Capitals Beat Penguins 6-3; Take 3-2 Series Lead


Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 Saturday night at Capital One Arena. The win gives the Capitals a 3-2 series lead. After the Penguins opened the scoring just 2:33 into the contest, the Capitals would answer with goals from John Carlson and Brett Connolly to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Penguins would tie it early in the middle frame and take a 3-2 lead midway through the middle frame with a pair of power play goals and take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Evgeny Kuznetsov would tie the game just 52 seconds into the final frame, and Jakub Vrana would score the late go-ahead game-winner for the 4-3 lead. The Caps would add two empty net goals for the 6-3 win. The two teams return to battle for Game 6 Monday night in Pittsburgh. 

STARTERS
Braden Holtby (6-3, 2.07 GAA, .924 sv%) started between the pipes for the Capitals. Matt Murray (6-4, 2.33 GAA, .909 sv%) started in goal for the Penguins. The Capitals starting forward lines and defensive pairs for Game 5:

Forward lines:
Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Smith-Pelly
Stephenson-Backstrom-Oshie
Connolly-Eller-Vrana
Gersich-Beagle-Chiasson
Defensive pairs:
Kempny-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Djoos

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

FIRST PERIOD
The Penguins would strike first with a goal from Jamie Oleksiak just 2:33 into the game. This was tghe Penguins first shot on goal of the game.

The Capitals would tie the game with a power play goal from John Carlson at 18:22 of the first period. Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie were credited with the helpers.

The Capitals would strike again just before the end of the period with a goal from Bret Connolly at 18:55 of the opening frame.

The first period would end with the Caps leading 2-1. Shots on goal were tied 13-13 through the first 20 minutes. Pittsburgh was 0 for 2 and Washington 1 for 2 on the man advantage.

SECOND PERIOD
The Penguins would tie the game with a power play goal from Sidney Crosby at 4:32 of the middle frame.

The Penguins would take the lead with a power play goal from Patric Hornqvist at 7:45 of the middle frame.

The period would end with the Penguins leading 3-2. The Penguins outshot the Capitals 18-5 for the middle frame. The Penguins were 2 for 5 and the Capitals 1 for 3 on the power play after 40 minutes of play.

THIRD PERIOD
The Capitals quickly tied the game with a breakaway goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov just 52 seconds into the final frame. The goal was setup with a nice breakout pass from Jakub Vrana.

The Capitals would take a 4-3 lead with a goal from Jakub Vrana at 15:22 of the final frame. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov were credited with the assists.

The Capitals would add an empty net goals from T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller to make it 6-3.

SHAVINGS

  • Braden Holtby stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced (.923 save percentage), including 27 of the 28 shots at even strength. Holtby improved to 7-3 in the playoffs.
  • Jakub Vrana scored the game-winning goal and recorded two assists. That marked Vrana’s first career multi-point playoff game. Vrana entered the game with two career playoff points.
  • Braden Holtby stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced (.923 save percentage), including 27 of the 28 shots at even strength. Holtby improved to 7-3 in the playoffs.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in the opening minute of a period (Game 1: 17 seconds into first period) for the second time this series. Additionally, Kuznetsov recorded two assists, his second-consecutive game with an assist. Kuznetsov also co-led the team with nine face-off wins.
  • T.J. Oshie recorded a goal and an assist and now has points in three-consecutive games (2g, 2a).
  • Lars Eller recorded a goal and an assist, his fourth assist of the playoffs and one shy of his mark set last season.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded an assist, his sixth of the playoffs.
  • Matt Niskanen recorded an assist, his third of the playoffs.
  • Jay Beagle co-led the team with nine face-off wins.
  • Devante Smith-Pelly led the team with five hits.
  • Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the third period and did not return.
  • NHL box score is here.

SCENES FROM THE DISTRICT

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The stairs!!! #allcaps

A post shared by Karen (@kiirenza) on

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The chant was "Fuck Pittsburgh! CROSBY SUCKS!"

A post shared by Scott Hazlitt (@firemanscott6) on

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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12 Responses to Capitals Beat Penguins 6-3; Take 3-2 Series Lead

  1. Pingback: Nicklas Backstrom Suffers Upper-Body Injury in Game 5 | NoVa Caps

  2. 10, Jon…

    No WAAAAAY we lose this series now…I don’t care WHAT transpires in Pittsburgh on Monday….actually I do care…I want this over as fast as possible before anyone else gets injured…

    That said, we GOT this…

    Cliff

    Liked by 1 person

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