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Instant analysis: Penguins at Capitals, Game 1

Pittsburgh dictated pace but couldn't stop Washington forward Oshie

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series at Verizon Center on Thursday.

Oshie scored on a wraparound 9:33 into overtime to give the Capitals the victory and complete his hat trick. Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins.

After Andre Burakovsky gave the Capitals the lead with his rebound goal off a 3-on-1 rush 10:13 into the game, the Penguins answered with goals 53 seconds apart from Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin in the second. Oshie pulled the Capitals even when he scored on a breakaway 33 seconds after Malkin's goal.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Oshie nets his second goal for the lead

Oshie struck again on a backhand 3:23 into third period, but Bonino tied it 3-3 at 8:42.

What we learned: If the excitement of Game 1 was any indication, this series will live up to the hype. Each team has the skill and speed to score off the rush, but that style of play is more favorable to the Penguins, who have a harder time generating scoring chances when they have to get set up in the offensive zone and work the puck around. Instead of exchanging rushes, the Capitals would prefer to play a more controlled game and wear down the Penguins defense with sustained pressure in their end. The Capitals were able to score three times off rush plays, though.

What this means for the Penguins: Pittsburgh showed it can get to goaltender Braden Holtby, who allowed five goals in the Capitals' six-game victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, and burn the Washington defense with its speed and skill. Still, the Penguins were unable to pull out a win. They'll need more consistent play from rookie goaltender Matt Murray in Game 2.

What this means for the Capitals: Washington was able to pull out a victory in a game in which it allowed Pittsburgh to dictate the style of play, but the Capitals probably want to tighten things up defensively heading into Game 2. Oshie, who was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on July 2, demonstrated he can be a big-game performer.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Oshie wraps OT winner for hat trick

Key moment: Oshie scored the winner on a left post wraparound, going wide around Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the right circle before curling behind the net and jamming the puck in off Murray's right pad. After the fans celebrated by throwing hats onto the ice, it took a video review to confirm the puck had completely crossed the goal line near the left post.

Unsung player of the game: Penguins left wing Carl Hagelin had two assists, including a nice pass from behind the net to set up Bonino's goal that tied it 3-3. Hagelin also helped kill off all three Capitals power plays.

What's next: Game 2 is at Verizon Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). More fun appears to be on the way.

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