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BIG MOMENTS - May 2, 2009: PIT @ WSH

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The plays that turn the tide in every game of playoff action -- that is what the beauty of hockey history is built on.

Check back every night following all the 2009 playoff action to witness NHL.com's game-changing moment from each game, as well as the rest of each game's goals, saves and hits.

You can vote on the night's best Big Moment.  Cast your votes after the night's action.

Thanks to all who voted -- and enjoy the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs!




Pittsburgh at Washington - Game 1

A) Sidney Crosby struck first with a goal 4:08 into the game that gave the Penguins a quick lead.

Bill Guerin got the play going on the right boards at the red line, feeding Crosby as Pittsburgh raced through the neutral zone. When Washington's Alexander Semin turned away from the puck at the Caps' blueline, Crosby essentially wound up with a 2-on-1, with only defenseman Brian Pothier back.  

Crosby raced into the zone, moved from the right to the middle and ripped a shot from about 20 feet, beating Simeon Varlamov past the glove for his fifth goal of the playoffs.


B) Through the first 13:48 of Game 1, the Capitals had only taken two shots and found themselves down 1-0. The Penguins had put 11 shots on net and controlled possession of the puck for most of the period.

That was until Pittsburgh turned the puck over, leading to a rush up ice and culminating in a momentum-building David Steckel goal.

The Capitals would draw two penalties later in the period, leading to an Alex Ovechkin score on a 5-on-3 and the final eight shots of the period.



C) With the scored tied and the Penguins a  man down, Matt Cooke found himself at center ice fighting for puck possession with Alex Ovechkin. Cooke would be whistled for hooking at 16:15, giving Washington a two-man advantage for 59 seconds.

The Caps quickly made Pittsburgh pay when Ovechkin finished off a nice rotation passing play.

Mike Green controlled the puck at in the high slot, and with Brooks Laich and Semin drawing the defense to the front of the net, Ovechkin had plenty of time and space to rip Green's perfect pass behind a helpless Fleury for a 2-1 lead.


D) With two minutes left in the second period, Chris Kunitz brought the puck up ice, drawing in Capitals' rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov.

At the last moment, Kunitz fed the puck across the crease to a streaking Sidney Crosby, who tipped a shot into what appeared to be a wide-open net. 

But Varlamov had other ideas, throwing his stick back to meet the puck just as it was ready to cross the goal line and preserving the 2-2 tie as the clubs headed into the decisive third period.


E)
With the game tied going into the third period, the Caps benefitted from a hard shot that went wide to take the lead.  Petr Sykora's shot from the high left circle whistled wide and spun all the way to the red line where Niklas Backstrom was waiting.

A cross-ice feed to Alexander Semin at the right wing of Pittsburgh's blue line led to a quick fake shot-pass in front to a streaking Tomas Fleischmann, who chipped it off Marc-Andre Fleury for the eventual game-winning goal.

The Caps held on the rest of the way to take Game 1 of their semifinal series.


FINAL SCORE:  Capitals 3, Penguins 2









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