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game recap

Holtby lifts Capitals past Penguins in Game 2

Makes 32 saves, Ovechkin scores to even Eastern series

by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Braden Holtby made 32 saves for the Washington Capitals in a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

Alex Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana, Brett Connolly and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Capitals, who tied the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

Game 3 is at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

 

[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Capitals highlights Complete Capitals vs. Penguins series coverage]

 

Washington, which had a 2-0 lead in the first period, scored the first two goals for the fifth time in eight Stanley Cup playoff games, including a 3-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 1 on Thursday.

"We knew we let them back the last game," Backstrom said. "That was huge. That's what we wanted to do. That's a big win for us."

Kris Letang scored and Matt Murray made 28 saves for the Penguins.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Letang nets long-range wrist shot

Ovechkin scored at 1:26 of the first with a shot from the high slot to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The puck came off the stick of Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist on a rush up ice.

"They came out flying," Murray said. "We didn't have an answer for it."

Vrana finished a pass from Lars Eller with five seconds left on a power play to make it 2-0 at 14:54 of the first for his first playoff goal. The Penguins used a coach's challenge for goalie interference on the play, but the call on the ice stood.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Vrana beats Murray for slick PPG

Connolly scored after a stretch pass from Eller at 2:08 of the second for a 3-0 lead.

"We need to have a better start," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We need more pushback from the drop of the puck. Listen, we knew they were going to come out hard. We're up 1-0 (in the series) after the first game, we knew they were going to come out hard. We didn't match the urgency."

Holtby helped preserve the lead for Washington in the second period when it was outshot 16-6. He stopped Hornqvist, knocking the puck out of the crease with his stick at 10:56 and then stopped Guentzel's rebound chance with a pad save at the left post.

"I thought Braden was real solid all game," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought he made some timely saves. He moved well. They were trying to make everything very difficult and he responded the way he always has."

Letang's point shot at 13:04 of the second made it 3-1.

The Penguins appeared to make it 3-2 at 9:03 of the third period when Hornqvist tucked a puck underneath Holtby. However, it was not ruled a goal on the ice and the call stood after a review.

Video: Situation Room: Hornqvist's shot stands as no goal

Backstrom scored an empty-net goal at 19:53 of the third to make it 4-1.

Washington trailed 2-0 losing each game at home in its past two playoff series.

"We have a confident group, so we don't get that down," Holtby said. "We believe we can win any game no matter the circumstances. We focus on the task at hand and tonight that was Game 2. Game 1 was a long time ago."

 

Goal of the game

Connolly's goal at 2:08 of the second period.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Connolly fires wrist shot past Murray

 

Save of the game

Holtby's save on Hornqvist at 10:56 of the second period.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Holtby extends his pad to deny Guentzel

 

Highlight of the game

Ovechkin's goal at 1:26 of the first period.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Ovechkin whips wrist shot by Murray

 

They said it

"We have to do a better job of being more difficult to play against and limiting some of the chances they get. But having said that, we had a number of quality chances as well. At some point, we have to find a way to score goals. That's something we'll get to work on." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

 

"We know that they've got guys that can hurt you. Game 1 it was tough, we played a really good game and they just kind of found a way to get some breaks and score some timely goals. I think we learned from that this time around, I think we weren't as loose, I think we were a little more solid as the game went on." -- Capitals forward Brett Connolly on holding onto a two-goal lead

 

Need to know

Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game at 4:23 of the second period following a collision with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. No penalty was called on the play and Dumoulin (upper-body injury) did not return. … Ovechkin scored his 53rd playoff goal, moving into a tie for 47th place on the NHL's all-time list (Bill Barber, Daniel Briere, Stephane Richer, Jeremy Roenick).

 

What's next

Game 3 of Eastern Conference Second Round at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS2)

Video: Holtby, Ovechkin lift Capitals to 4-1 win in Game 2

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