For 40 minutes the Pittsburgh Penguins plan was working again to perfection. Though being outshot, the Pens carried a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period on the strength of goals by Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel. Pittsburgh was dipping and dodging the Caps best shots and looking to sneak out of DC with a series clinching victory.
Those plans were altered in the 3rd period. Nicklas Backstrom scored off a defensive breakdown to tie the game 2:49 into the period then less than 5 minutes later Evgeny Kutznetsov and Alex Ovechkin scored 27 seconds apart to push Washington out to a lead they would never relinquish.
In the interim the Pens got a few good scoring chances but goalie Braden Holtby made a couple of saves that he hasn't previously in this series and that proved to be a difference too.
"We have to have a short memory," Mike Sullivan said. "Reset our mindset, go home and put our best game on the ice." That would be a good strategy. For the second year in a row Pittsburgh fails to win a series clincher in DC in Game 5 to have another shot at Game 6. Hopefully the script remains the same.