Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
How it happened: Both teams looked pretty even to start as they felt one another out in a goalless first period. Things did not start well in the second. Caught too far up on the opening faceoff, the Caps gave up the first goal of the game to Sidney Crosby just 12 seconds in. Crosby would score his second of the game less than a minute later to make it 2-0 just 1:04 into the second. Washington was on its heels so they got physical. Dmitry Orlov crushed Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson leveled Evgeni Malkin and the team seemed to feed off of both hits leading to an Alex Ovechkin goal late in the period. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied that game at 2 in the third period, but Nick Bonino put Pittsburgh back on top for good just 4:31 later.
What it means: With the Game 1 loss, Washington yielded home-ice to the Penguins and now face what many will call a must-win Game 2 in Washington before the series shifts to Pittsburgh. This marks the first time this season the Caps have lost to the Penguins in regulation.
Penguins goal: Sidney Crosby from Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist at 0:12 in the 2nd period. Matt Niskanen pinched up the ice immediately on the faceoff to open the second period. A turnover in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 for Pittsburgh with Guentzel feeding Crosby for the one-timer. Caps 0, Penguins 1
Penguins goal: Sidney Crosby from Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist at 1:04 in the 2nd period. Maatta fired a slap shot from the blue line that Braden Holtby was unable to glove. Hornqvist was there for Pittsburgh to collect the rebound and feed to a charging Crosby for the goal. Caps 0, Penguins 2
Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin from Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie at 18:17 in the 2nd period. A big hit from Dmitry Orlov on Kuhnhackl seemed to ignite the Caps as did a hit from John Carlson and Evgeni Malkin less than a minute later. Carlson’s hit dispossessed Malkin of the puck and Oshie carried it into the offensive zone and dropped it back for Eller. Eller tipped it to a nearby Ovechkin who was allowed to walk in to the top of the circle without being challenged. The result shot beat Marc-Andre Fleury to the top shelf. Caps 1, Penguins 2
Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Matt Niskanen at 8:05 in the 3rd period. A prolonged offensive attack and the constant movement of the Caps allowed for Kuznetsovy eventually to get free. Niskanen corralled the puck and pulled off the cross-ice pass to Kuznetsov who was able to tap it in past a helpless Fleury. Caps 2, Penguins 2
Penguins goal: Nick Bonino from Scott Wilson and Ian Cole at 12:36 in the 3rd period. Justin Schultz held the puck behind the Penguins' net, passed to Cole who made a stretch pass to Wilson who was along the boards. Wilson went into the offensive zone drawing Kevin Shattenkirk then chipped the puck to the center for Bonino who was in alone on net. Caps 2, Penguins 3
1. Dmitry Orlov: Crosby's two goals took the wind right out of the Caps' sails and the team seemed to lack energy for most of the second as a result. That changed when Orlov knocked Kuhnhackl to the ice. The Penguins bench was upset as they felt the hit was high, but the point of contact was not the head and the referee did not deem it worthy of a penalty.
2. Alex Ovechkin: There were some frustrating moments in which Ovechkin was forced into traps along the boards and he took an early penalty, but Washington needed him the most and desperately needed a boost, he was there to give them the goal and put them on the board.
3. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Kuznetsov needs to be a factor in this series if the Caps hope to win and he was in Game 1. He registered 10 shot attempts, four shots on goal and scored the game-tying goal in the third. He did not score a single goal in last season's series against Pittsburgh.
Look ahead: The series remains in Washington for Game 2 on Saturday. It will then shift to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.
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