Alex Ovechkin, Capitals Beat Sidney Crosby, Penguins 4-1 to Even Series at 1

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal by Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Capital One Arena on April 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Penguins defeated the Capitals 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals have evened their second-round series behind a 4-1 Game 2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the playoffs in the opening minutes, and unlike in Game 1, Braden Holtby held on for the win with 33 saves in net. The effort helped the Metropolitan Division champs knot the series at 1-1.

This was the first road loss of the postseason for the Penguins in five games.

Despite the play of Holtby in net, one of the big storylines was the controversial no-goal with 11 minutes left in regulation. Down 3-1, Patric Hornqvist appeared to cut the deficit in half with the team's second goal.

The play went to a replay review, and there was plenty of debate about whether the score should count:

However, replays could not definitively show the puck cross the goal line, and the score remained 3-1 in favor of the Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom then iced the game with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

The Penguins were still without Evgeni Malkin, who missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. Brian Dumoulin—who had six points in Round 1—also suffered a head injury after a hit from Tom Wilson, per Adam Gretz of NBC Sports.

These injuries crippled the offense and prevented Pittsburgh from gaining a 2-0 advantage in the series.

Sunday's game was the second in a row where the Capitals jumped out to a quick lead with an early goal.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 17 seconds into Game 1, while Ovechkin kicked off the scoring 86 seconds into Game 2:

Washington controlled the action in the first period, taking 20 shots on goal to stay out in front.

Jakub Vrana and Brett Connolly helped the Capitals build a 3-0 lead with impressive finishes, each scoring their first career postseason goals:

This extra cushion helped prevent the two-goal collapse we saw in Game 1.

The Penguins got one goal back in the second period on a Kris Letang rocket from the blue line but couldn't get a second despite Hornqvist's close chance.

Six penalties in the third period made for some drama, but a Penguins comeback was not in the cards.

The series will now shift to Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Tuesday, and despite the latest victory, the pressure is still on the Capitals to get at least one road win in the next two games.

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