WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have both collected two points, but it is the captain of the Penguins who had the last word when Pittsburgh defeated the Capitals 3-2 in the opening semi-final, Thursday in Washington.
Ovechkin had yet shown the way to the Caps in orchestrating the aim of Evgeny Kuznetsov since the 17th second of the match and scoring 28 second of the beginning of the third period to give the lead 2-0 in his band. Playing without Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, the Penguins have found a way to reverse the trend in less than five minutes.
Patric Hornqvist started the ball by deflecting a shot from Justin Schultz, and then Crosby beat Braden Holtby after Ovechkin had been unable to cut a pass cross from Jake Guentzel. The latter broke the tie at 7:48 with his seventh goal of the present series when the firing of Crosby deflected it on his stick.
“Leadership comes from Sidney, who guided the team until the last player in the training,” said Guentzel, who also collected two helpers for top of the markers with 16 points. “You can’t give up. There will be ups and downs throughout the series. You have to stay in the action until the end and we are happy to have won this fight.”
Murray not surprised
Matt Murray, author of 32 stops, perhaps could not predict that his team would deliver on its ascent, but he was not surprised. Not after the Penguins had won their past nine series, including two against the Capitals.
“There will be good things that will happen and others less good,” observed Murray. “It is mostly the way you reply that counts and we did a good job on this point.”
The Capitals have finally received a first defeat this spring when Holtby begins the encounter in front of their net. Foiled three times on 25 shots, including three times on eight shots in the third period, he experienced his worst game since he replaced Philipp Grubauer during the first round, in the face of the Blue Jackets of Columbus.
“Obviously, there are things that we will need to work,” said Holtby. “At the same time, some of the goals that they scored are occurring on funny games, especially the last one.”
The second game of the series will be presented on Sunday (15), Washington, dc.