Two of the best players in the game, two clutch plays. In Pittsburgh, both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin scored big goals, but Ovechkin’s was the biggest, scoring the winner shortly before the teams were set for overtime, to give the Caps a 4-3 win. Washington leads the series 2-1.
After a scoreless first period, the Caps quickly got the scoring started in the second. On the power play after a late Evgeni Malkin tripping penalty, John Carlson ripped a one-timer off a Nicklas Backstrom feed to give the Caps an early lead.
But the Pens responded quickly. Less than four minutes later, Jake Guentzel deflected a wrister from Justin Schultz. Then, after a Brooks Oprik penalty, Patric Hornqvist scored on the man-advantage to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.
It wouldn’t last long. Halfway through the period, Chandler Stephenson scored the tying goal. That would be followed by more fireworks from Tom Wilson, who laid a pretty brutal hit on Zach Aston-Reese, leading to a flurry of penalties. Reese has a broken jaw that will require surgery as well as a concussion.They didn’t score on the power play, but after a few Guentzel dekes, all Sidney Crosby had to do was tap it in for the third goal to give the Pens a 3-2 lead after two.
The third was evenly played. Matt Niskanen tied things up early on, and the rest was shutdown mode. That is, until the end. Mr. Clutch was Alex Ovechkin. With 1:07 left, Ovechkin received the pass from Backstrom on a 2-on-1 and put it home.
It was a tightly played game, and the winner came on a bit of a broken play. Expect more of the same going forward. Game 4 is Thursday, with the Caps looking to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
JETS 7, PREDATORS 4
Things looked really bad early on for Winnipeg. Then things looked really good. And then they held on. Winnipeg stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to win 7-4 in a wild game, taking a 2-1 series lead.
It was all Nashville in the first. Though his wife, Carrie Underwood, wasn’t singing the anthem, Mike Fisher started things off right with a goal just four minutes in, after Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck had trouble corralling the puck.
A few minutes later, on the power play, P.K. Subban’s shot trickled through Hellebuyck’s pads. Austin Watson rounded out the scoring on another goal toward the end of the first, ending a nightmare period for Hellebuyck, and giving the Preds a 3-0 lead.
If the first was all Nashville, the second was all Winnipeg. Paul Stastny scored his third just two minutes in, followed by Dustin Byfuglien three minutes later. Eighteen seconds after that, Jacob Trouba scored, and the entirety of Winnipeg could hear the roar from the crowd. Byfuglien finished things off with 45 seconds remaining to complete the comeback and give the Jets a 4-3 lead.
In the third, Filip Forsberg scored the tying goal on the power play, giving some life to the Preds. In a game that looked headed to overtime for the second straight game, Captain Clutch Blake Wheeler scored the game-winner with five minutes left on the power play to give the Jets a 4-2 lead. Wheeler then added an empty netter, and, just for fun, so did Brandon Tanev<.
Game 4 is Thursday.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Guentzel’s assist to Crosby in the second period sure was pretty.
And there was someone special in the crowd to watch the dazzling play, as Humboldt Broncos player Brayden Camrud attended the game as a guest of former Penguin Colby Armstrong. The crowd and players alike gave him a heartfelt ovation in the first period.
- Blake Wheeler, WPG — Wheeler had an assist in the second period comeback, and then scored the game-winner in the third. His empty-netter sealed the deal.
- Alex Ovechkin, WSH — The winger played the hero, scoring the game-winning goal on the road with just over a minute left, giving the Caps control of this series.
- Dustin Byfuglien, WPG — The hulking defender keyed the comeback with two goals in the second, turning what could’ve been a disastrous loss into a commanding win
Wednesday’s action starts with the Lightning and Bruins. Fresh off a convincing win in Tampa Bay, can the Lightning will look to take control of the series on the road, while Boston will try to find its Game 1 performance again and use the home advantage to take a series lead.
San Jose hosts Vegas in the late game, with the Knights holding a 2-1 series lead. It’s been a tight series—don’t be surprised if there’s another overtime game. Vegas has the chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead, but in this closely-played matchup, anything is possible.