Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday scored the game-winner with 1 minute, 7 seconds left to play as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 to gain the upper hand in their NHL playoff series.
Ovechkin knocked his own rebound out of midair and past Penguins goaltender Matt Murray to lift the Capitals to a victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
With the win, Washington regained home-ice advantage against the team who have eliminated them in each of the past two seasons.
“This was a big win — it was tough sledding out there,” said Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen, who tied the game with a goal 5 minutes, 6 seconds into the third period after the Caps had trailed 2-1.
However, the Penguins were infuriated by another high hit from Washington winger Tom Wilson — a shoulder-to-head hit in the second period that left Zach Aston-Reese with a broken jaw and a concussion, although no penalty was called on the play.
Braden Holtby made 19 saves for his sixth win in seven starts this post-season.
After John Carlson gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 48 seconds into the second period, while Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist scored less than three minutes apart to put the Penguins up 2-1.
Chandler Stephenson scored from the left face-off circle on a one-timer at 11 minutes, 4 seconds of the second period to make it 2-2.
Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 16 minutes, 27 seconds of the second period, and Niskanen tied it 3-3 when his slap shot bounced off Murray’s glove, setting the stage for Ovechkin.
In Winnipeg, the Jets trailed 3-0 after the first period, but scored four straight goals in the second — including three in less than three minutes — en route to a 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Blake Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal for the Jets, who took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference second-round series.
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