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Penguins penalty kill unsuccessful in Game 5 loss

Ovechkin, Oshie power-play goals for Capitals prove to be difference

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- There wasn't a good answer to the question because there wasn't anything good to really say about the Pittsburgh Penguins penalty kill Saturday.

Did the Washington Capitals scored two power-play goals because they have arguably the best power play in the NHL and it was bound to show up and make a difference in the Eastern Conference Second Round, or because of the Penguins penalty-kill deficiencies?

"I'm sure it's both," Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said following the Capitals 3-1 win in Game 5 at Verizon Center. "We want to be perfect on that penalty kill and we obviously were not [Saturday night]."

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 and Game 6 is at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm 5: Ovechkin fires a one-timer for PPG

The Penguins were 11-for-12 on the penalty kill through the first four games of the series and 28-for-31 in their first nine games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington scored on two of its first three power plays Saturday.

"They executed better than our kill did," said Penguins center Matt Cullen, who was on the ice for both power-play goals against.

The Capitals did, really for the first time all series. They did so by simply doing what they do best on their power play. They got the puck to Alex Ovechkin on the left side with time and space so he could unleash his powerful one-timer. 

When that happens, well, everyone knows what can happen.

Ovechkin scored six seconds into Washington's first power play of the game, at 4:04 of the first period, with a heavy, high and hard one-timer that crossed from the top of the left circle into the top right corner of the net, sailing over Pittsburgh rookie goalie Matt Murray's glove.

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom fed him the puck with a diagonal seam pass.

Ovechkin's one-timer from the left circle set up Washington's second power-play goal at 4:00 of the second period. Murray got across to make the save, but the rebound fell in the crease and Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got enough on it to knock it into the net.

Capitals defenseman John Carlson got the puck to Ovechkin after Washington ran the power play through Backstrom on the right side.

"We got in a couple positions that we normally don't get into," Cullen said. "As a kill, we need to regroup. We've done a pretty good job throughout the playoffs. Tonight was not one of those nights. We kind of hung Matty [Murray] out to dry a little bit."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm5: Oshie buries home rebound for PPG

Ovechkin's goal is one the Penguins seemed willing to chalk up to a great shooter making a great shot.

Oshie's goal was different because it seemed like they got lulled into focusing on Backstrom on the right side, leaving Ovechkin open on the left side. That's a no-no against Washington's power play.

"I thought they changed a few things and tried to mix it up on us a little bit," Cullen said. "We got kind of late in our shift, had some tired guys out there on the kill, and that's going to happen. They got a shot through and a rebound, and when you got a tired kill out there that's going to happen. We'll take a look at it again and try to tighten it up a bit, but I thought they did a few different things and that's to be expected. It's a long series, teams are going to adjust."

Fair enough, but the Capitals might not have had a chance to strut their stuff on the power play had the Penguins won some faceoffs.

Oshie won the faceoff that led to Ovechkin's goal. Backstrom won the faceoff that led to Oshie's goal. That faceoff win by Backstrom kept Cullen, Eric Fehr, Trevor Daley and Kris Letang on the ice for 66 seconds before Oshie scored. That's what Cullen meant by being late in the shift.

"We couldn't seem to win the first faceoff and that's when you get that first clear," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's when our penalty kill has an opportunity to be at its best, and we couldn't seem to get that first faceoff win and as a result they got some zone time. But give them credit, they made a couple of good plays."

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