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game recap

Murray, Penguins defeat Capitals in Game 3

Rookie goalie makes career-high 47 saves; Pittsburgh takes 2-1 series lead

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie goalie Matt Murray picked a good time to have the best performance of his young NHL career.

Murray made 47 saves to help the Penguins defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Consol Energy Center on Monday.

Patric Hornqvist, Tom Kuhnhackl and Carl Hagelin scored for Pittsburgh, which leads the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Murray is 5-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has allowed fewer than three goals in four of his six playoff starts.

Washington outshot Pittsburgh 49-23. After making 14 saves in each of the first two periods, Murray made 19 more in the third period to reach his NHL career high for saves in a single game.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Murray dazzles in win with 47 saves

"I don't think I've had that many shots in quite some time," the 21-year-old said. "That was a busy one. … I wouldn't say it's any easier or any harder whether you face less or more shots. It's all mental, I think, at that point, so they're just different challenges."

Each coach recognized Murray as the difference in Game 3.

Pittsburgh's Mike Sullivan was displeased with the Penguins' performance.

"I thought [Murray] was terrific, and the disparity in shots were because they had the puck all night and we didn't," Sullivan said. "And obviously that's an area where in the first two games, we felt that we had the puck for long stretches of the game. Tonight was a different story."

Capitals coach Barry Trotz was less critical of his team.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Hagelin chips in Bonino's pretty feed

"I thought Murray was really good in the first. I thought he was good all game, there was no question," Trotz said. "He's the reason they had success, but our game reminded me a lot of our Game 3 [against the New York Islanders] last year. It took us a couple games to find our game, but once we found our game, I thought we were good."

Washington lost that game 2-1 in overtime to fall behind New York 2-1 in the 2015 Eastern Conference First Round before winning three of the final four games of the series.

The Capitals controlled much of the first period Monday but trailed 2-0 entering the intermission.

After a backhand shot from Sidney Crosby was sent into the air, Washington froze and allowed Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary to collect the puck and pass to Trevor Daley along the blue line. Daley took a slap shot that Hornqvist deflected past goalie Braden Holtby to open the scoring 6:37 into the first period.

The Penguins scored again exactly one minute later after Matt Cullen pounced on Nicklas Backstrom's neutral-zone turnover and carried the puck into the Capitals zone. Cullen's pass hit Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen and bounced into the net off Kuhnhackl's back to extend the Penguins lead to 2-0 at 7:37.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Ovi snipes one from above the circle

Hagelin put Pittsburgh ahead 3-0 with 4:57 remaining in the second period. Nick Bonino dragged the puck around Holtby before passing back through the crease with Hagelin barreling toward Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt. The puck slipped through Schmidt's legs, allowing Hagelin to shovel it into the net for his third playoff goal.

Holtby allowed more than two goals for the second time in nine starts this postseason. He also gave up three goals in Washington's 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 against Pittsburgh.

Defenseman Kris Letang nearly gave the Penguins a 4-0 lead late in the second, but his slap shot hit off the left post with 13 seconds left, and the Capitals cleared the puck.

Pittsburgh carried a three-goal lead into the third period despite being outshot 28-14 and outhit 42-17.

Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the series to make it 3-1 8:02 into the third. After Niskanen dropped a pass to him in the left circle, Ovechkin sent a wrist shot over Murray's glove.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Hornqvist tips opening goal by Holtby

Justin Williams scored his first goal of the 2016 playoffs with 55.1 seconds remaining to pull Washington within a goal. Ovechkin got his second assist of the series on the goal; he has three points (two assists) in the three games.

Crosby has been held without a point in the series. He last failed to score in three straight games from Feb. 10-15.

Penguins forward Bryan Rust left in the first period with a lower-body injury after blocking two shots 36 seconds into the game.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Williams scores after Ovi hits post

Capitals forward Marcus Johansson exited the game after being hit by Letang in the Penguins zone with 4:19 remaining in the first but returned for the start of the second period. Letang was called for interference on the play.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury dressed for the first time since sustaining his second concussion of the season March 31 against the Nashville Predators. He backed up Murray, who is 8-1-0 in 10 starts since Fleury was injured.

"[Murray] was awesome all night," Fleury said. "He kept us in the game, that's for sure."

Video: Murray, Pens take series lead against Caps

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