PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Shattenkirk might have saved the Washington Capitals' season on Monday.
Shattenkirk scored a power-play goal 3:13 into overtime of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to give the Capitals a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena and, more importantly, helped them avoid having their season on the brink of elimination.
Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1. Game 4 is here on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"I think tonight was a great test for all of us," Shattenkirk said. "There were a lot of different moments in the game where we had to see what we were made of."
[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Capitals series coverage]
Earlier Monday, Shattenkirk was candid about his struggles in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Shattenkirk was one of the players he needed more from in Game 3.
Shattenkirk was minus-7 with three points in eight playoff games prior to Monday. In Game 2 on Saturday, he committed a turnover that led to a shorthanded goal for the Penguins.
His approach for Game 3 was to go out and have fun again. He'd gotten too tight. His teammates lifted him up and kept him focused on the task at hand.
"To a man, everyone knew what we had to do tonight," Shattenkirk said. "You know that all the outside noise is there, so really anything to just distract you is something that helps keep your mind off of all of it."
Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Shattenkirk nets PPG for OT win
The Capitals dressed seven defensemen in Game 3, and Karl Alzner returned after missing six games. But less than six minutes elapsed in the first period before defenseman Matt Niskanen was given a game misconduct stemming from a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking Penguins center Sidney Crosby.
"He got the big goal for us and from that standpoint I think he stepped up there tonight," Trotz said. "Especially when we lost [Niskanen]. I thought he played well."
Washington led 2-0 with two minutes remaining, but Pittsburgh scored two goals in 48 seconds to send the game to overtime.
Capitals forward Marcus Johansson drew a holding penalty on Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley 2:40 into overtime. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom entered the offensive zone and sent a crisp cross-ice pass to Shattenkirk a few feet inside the blue line. He took a moment to settle the puck and put a wrist shot past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
"For me it was a shift-by-shift process," Shattenkirk said. "I obviously feel different than where I was standing 12 hours ago with you guys."
But there's still work left to do. The Capitals want to take the series back to Washington tied 2-2. They can't sit on this victory for very long; last season, their season ended in Pittsburgh, which then went on to win the Stanley Cup.
"I've gotta make sure I carry this into next game, and that's the most important thing," Shattenkirk said. "I'm going to enjoy it tonight. We came here to win two games, and next game it's going to be even tougher."