Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals, 5-5-2018 - Prediction & Preview

Ovechkin scores late to give Caps 4-3 win, 2-1 series lead

Guentzel scored twice and the host Penguins held Alex Ovechkin without a shot on goal for just the third time in 107 career playoff games Thursday in a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-2.

After a play was originally ruled "no goal" on the ice, a quick review overturned that decision, ruling a rebound shot by the Penguins Evgeni Malkin did in fact cross the goal line. Guentzel also helped Washington get back in it, however, by immediately committing a pair of penalties outside his own zone, the first of which resulted in a power-play goal for the Capitals.

The Penguins have been hurting for secondary scoring - every Pittsburgh goal this series has come with captain Sidney Crosby on the ice - but Guentzel has shined.

Malkin, who missed the first two games of this series with a lower-body injury, now has a goal and an assist in his two games in the second round.

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The NHL suspended Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson three games for an illegal hit on Pittsburgh's Zach Aston-Reese. It was his team-leading ninth goal of the postseason, and he added his 10th later. The Pens were 2-of-4 on the power play. That was the Penguins' 24th and final shot.

Given a chance to push Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination, Washington instead struggled to generate much pressure outside of the power play. "I think both teams are defending extremely hard".

With the win, Pittsburgh evens the series at 2-2 and ensures itself of another home game on Monday in Game 6.

In Game 2 on Sunday, Wilson collided with Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the second period, who didn't return to the game after entering the National Hockey League concussion protocol. A diving Malkin stabbed at the puck as it sat on the goal line while Holtby attempted to use his blocker as a last line of defence. The Russian star flung himself at the puck during a scrum in the crease, the puck just flitting over the goal line following a scramble.

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"It's been a long series the last two years", Nicklas Backstrom said. "I was trying to make a smart play by taking away their [defenseman's] stick, and it ended up being a dumb play by clipping his skate there".

For better or for worse, goal reviews can loom large over those "game of inches" moments.

"Trust me, Ovie will get his shots", Trotz said. Washington responded with a challenge that there was goalie interference, but the goal was still deemed good and the Pens took a 2-1 lead.

"You can complain about this or complain about that or wonder about this or whatever", defenseman Matt Niskanen said.

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Game 4 is scheduled for Friday in Pittsburgh. "It's unbelievable. I see the open right side and tried to shoot quick as I can and tried to get the puck go in". That just shows what we can do. We know we're going to have to play really well, but it's possible.

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