WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin got his first playoff hat trick. So did Sidney Crosby, but his third one was too little, too late for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ovechkin broke open a tie game with a pair of goals less than three minutes apart in the third period Monday night, leading the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Penguins and a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Ovechkin followed a one-timer from the left circle on a power play with 7:07 to play with a slap shot from between the circles with 4:38 remaining. Both times he celebrated by launching his body into the glass, the second time as hats flooded the Verizon Center rink.
Crosby did all the scoring for the Penguins to claim the NHL's post-season lead with eight goals, but it was Ovechkin who had the winning hand in the matchup of the league's marquee rivals with his fifth, sixth and seventh.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Pittsburgh.