Sidney Crosby, Penguins Beat Alex Ovechkin, Capitals in Game 1, Take Series Lead

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) celebrates with right wing Patric Hornqvist (72), of Sweden; right wing Phil Kessel (81); center Dominik Simon (12); and others after Game 1 of an NHL second-round hockey playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Washington. The Penguins won 3-2. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins remain a thorn in the side of the Washington Capitals, overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period Thursday to win 3-2 in Game 1 of the teams' NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Round 2 matchup.

Jake Guentzel had three points in the win, including the go-ahead goal, while Sidney Crosby added a goal and an assist to help the Penguins improve to 4-0 in road games this postseason.

Pittsburgh has eliminated the Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals in each of the past two seasons on their way to a Stanley Cup title. While this was just one game, things could be headed in the same direction.

The Pens scored three goals in five minutes to transform the game, and Matt Murray took care of the rest to keep the visitors in front. The goalie was about as good as he has been all postseason, totaling 32 saves while helping the team hold on to a narrow lead in the final 10 minutes.

There weren't many mistakes from either side, but Pittsburgh got hot near the end and turned that momentum into a win, going up 1-0 in the second-round matchup.

You likely missed the first goal of the game if you weren't tuned in by the opening faceoff.

It took just 17 seconds for Alex Ovechkin to find an open Evgeny Kuznetsov, who fired the puck into the net to give Washington a 1-0 lead:

Only Mike Gartner in 1987 scored a faster playoff goal in franchise history (15 seconds), per ESPN Stats & Info.

That was the only score for two periods, though. The drama picked up in the third period.

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the final period, seemingly putting the home team in good shape:

Unfortunately for the Caps, that preceded an explosion from the Penguins, who scored three straight goals to take over the game.

Patric Hornqvist, Crosby and Guentzel all got in on the action, turning a possible shutout into a one-goal lead in the blink of an eye:

Braden Holtby saved 22 shots, but this rough stretch cost his team. Washington was unable to recover and suddenly lost a lot of momentum after four straight wins in the first round. 

The teams will have at least one more battle in the nation's capital, facing off in Game 2 on Sunday.

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