The Capitals make a shakeup, scratching forward Paul Carey and dressing an extra defenseman in Karl Alzner who's been injured to this point in the series. Will the 11F/7D pay off or be reaching to shift into a gear that doesn't help?
The Penguins appear to dodge injury bullets as all who were missing from the morning skate (Dumoulin, Hornqvist, Hagelin) are able to answer the bell. Same lineup as last game
Well, it's a good thing for them that the Caps dressed 7 defensemen because Matt Niskanen cross-checks Sidney Crosby in the back of the head and promptly gets kicked out of the game. More importantly, Crosby is laid out motionless for a while and leaves the game. Also note that Crosby takes an Alex Ovechkin stick to the head before Niskanen comes in and waylays him, double tapped.
Also Ovechkin takes out Crosby's leg too and that kind of buckles awkwardly as well
Crosby takes 2 sticks to the dome. Niskanen loves targeting the head. Fucking dirt bag pic.twitter.com/1U8opENper— Jordie (@BarstoolJordie) May 1, 2017
The extended power play is cut short due to Evgeni Malkin shooting after a whistle and killing 2 minutes off it when he takes a penalty for it. The Pens get a glorious chance late in the power play, Nick Bonino sends a puck past Braden Holtby but it hits the post. Bryan Rust lunges to pickle-stab it into a wide open net but the stick of Daniel Winnik is there at the goal-line to deny it.
The Pens bad luck continues, Hagelin takes a high-sticking penalty, then Rust's bad luck continues when he knocks a puck out of mid-air that flies for a delay of game. The Caps strike on the 5v3 with a goal that Nicklas Backstrom throws to the net that deflects off Fleury and Ian Cole and in the net. 1-0 for the first Washington lead in a game this series.
Rust's hat trick of frustration hits 3 on the night after the Pens catch the Caps in a line change and get him in all alone for a breakaway, but Holtby takes away the 5-hole.
Shots 9-8 Caps after 1, which considering the 5v3 time, pretty good for Pittsburgh.
The Pens start the period impressively and the puck ends up in the net with Chris Kunitz driving in. The refs review and uphold the goal. Yay!
They took this away from Kunitz.— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) May 2, 2017
How rude. pic.twitter.com/waHXSFSjYG
But wait, Washington reviews for the goalie interference and the refs now agree, no goal! Only in the NHL can they affirm a goal in an official review, then change up on it. Can't argue too much on the final decision, but the process as usual is all fucked up.
Not long after, Hornqvist goes to hit Lars Eller, he cuts to avoid but Conor Sheary doesn't see him coming and oof that hurts. Sheary leaves the game.
Conor and Patric collide unfortunately.— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) May 2, 2017
Why is this happening? pic.twitter.com/xpGiEYfb8C
The Pens carry play for a while, earn some power plays but look disjointed with the absence of Crosby and do not score.
Then Evgeny Kuznetsov thinks he scores but no Marc-Andre Fleury just made one of the best saves...ever?
OH MY FLEURY pic.twitter.com/piLEc4VgXs— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) May 2, 2017
And how 'bout Hornqvist's ability to not either own goal that and also not cover the puck with a hand?
Shots are 15-11 for the period for Pittsburgh and 23-20 Pens overall in the game. Goals 1-0 Caps though.
Olli Maatta takes a penalty early but the Pens survive. Somehow Kevin Shattenkirk isn't called for a hooking penalty on this, which oh well.
Playoff officiating is GARBAGE pic.twitter.com/3FuRWKXUIW— Dumb Bozo (@davelozo) May 2, 2017
All hell breaks lose then, Chris Kunitz hits Backstrom behind the play, Malkin hits Winnik from behind, Tom Wilson barrels in and hits Malkin and the dogpile is on. Pens end up short-handed because of it when it all shakes out. The Pens survive again but clock is becoming the enemy.
The Pens push hard but Kessel and Daley can't score, then the puck hops over Daley's stick and the Caps get a 2-on-1. Kuznetsov takes his time and cashes with a great finish. 2-0 Caps.
Kuznetsov makes it 2-0 Caps pic.twitter.com/5ElpnJXbKa— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 2, 2017
The Pens pull their goalie and get a full minute of zone-time and pressure, eventually Kessel finds Malkin who hammers a one-timer by Holtby to get the Pens on the board with 1:53 remaining and a glimmer of hope. 2-1.
:))))) pic.twitter.com/xRIKc8nGYD— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) May 2, 2017
AND BOOM THERE'S THE EQUALIZER! Justin Schultz with a point shot that changes direction and gets by Holtby to tie the game!
Never. In. Doubt. pic.twitter.com/5TpcC0FUEo— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) May 2, 2017
We're headed to overtime!
Things start slowly but the Caps earn the first break when Trevor Daley has to take down Marcus Johansson after a burst gives him a breakaway. That would be the only thing they needed as quickly on the ensuing power play Shattenkirk wrists a long-range shot that hits the net.
- Wild game. Ironically maybe the Pens best of the series, despite being down to 10 forwards for most of the game and having to absorb the loss of Crosby.
- Fleury was amazing
- Tough to let the Caps back into this series like this and the injury cloud doesn't paint a good picture moving forward but this whole playoff has been an uphill battle, and it looks like the hill has gotten steeper still.
Well, that's that. Tough one to take but at least the team rallied there late and put themselves in a position to take home a commanding lead. Didn't quite work out and obviously the injuries are looming large so we'll just have to see how things go on Wednesday for Game 4.