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Penguins rebound, defeat Capitals in Game 1

Nick Bonino scores for Pittsburgh in third after Washington rallies to tie

by Tom Gulitti / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- After letting a two-goal lead slip way, the Pittsburgh Penguins again used their speed to make the most of an opportunity.

Nick Bonino scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:24 remaining in the third period to give the Penguins a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Verizon Center on Thursday.

"To steal a game in their rink and kind of effectively get home ice back in the series, I think that's huge, and we'll try to see if we can take Game 2," Bonino said.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Penguins highlights | RELATED: Complete Washington vs. Pittsburgh series coverage]

 

The best-of-7 series continues here Saturday.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Crosby scores two in 52 seconds

Sidney Crosby scored twice in the first 1:04 of the second period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals to tie it before Bonino got the game-winner on a partial breakaway.

The Penguins were outshot 35-21, including 16-6 in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury made six of his 33 saves in the final 3:08 to preserve the lead.

"We had lots of opportunities," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We put some [83] pucks at their net tonight, they put [41] at ours. We did a lot of good things. We didn't do enough."

Crosby scored on a 2-on-1 with Jake Guentzel 12 seconds into the second period to give the lead, and again 52 seconds later on a rebound. Braden Holtby made a pad save on defenseman Olli Maatta's left-circle shot but left the puck in front, and Patric Hornqvist nudged it to Crosby in the right circle.

"It was two great plays," Crosby said. "On both [Hornqvist] gave us some loose pucks. He poked a couple pucks free and then Jake made a great pass on the 2-on-1. [Hornqvist] found me on the rebound there, so some really good looks from that."

Ovechkin made it 2-1 with 1:43 remaining in the second period, on a wrist shot from top of the left circle over Fleury's right shoulder. Kuznetsov tied the game 2-2 8:05 into the third period, taking a cross-ice pass from defenseman Matt Niskanen and shooting from the left circle.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Kuznetsov finishes Niskanen's feed

 

Goal of the game

Bonino's game-winner started with a long pass from defenseman Ian Cole to left wing Scott Wilson at the Capitals blue line. Wilson passed to Bonino, who had a step on Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik and scored past Holtby's blocker.

"It's just a controlled breakout," Bonino said. "Usually they develop a little bit longer, but I think it was coming off a change. We kind of cut our routes short and it was just one of those things you try to feel and [Wilson] made a great pass to the middle for us."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Bonino pots go-ahead goal off rush

 

Save of the game

During a wild scramble in front when Fleury made four consecutive saves, his best was on Nicklas Backstrom's rebound with 2:50 remaining. After making a pad save on Nate Schmidt's shot from the right circle, Fleury dropped down and stacked his pads to stop Backstrom.

"I couldn't see the puck for a little while there," Fleury said. "I had no stick, so I was trying to make some stops. It was fun."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Fleury scrambles to make late saves

 

Highlight of the game

Tied 0-0 with 4:15 remaining in the first period, Guentzel prevented the Capitals from taking the lead by blocking T.J. Oshie's rebound shot with his left leg at the goal line.

"Kind of a weird play," Guentzel said. "Just trying to fall and somehow it hit me and stayed out."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Fleury, Guentzel make amazing stops

 
Unsung performance of the game

Washington defenseman John Carlson did not get an assist on Ovechkin's goal but helped make it happen with a big hit on Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin inside the Capitals blue line, knocking him off the puck. Oshie picked it up and carried into the Penguins zone, leading to the goal.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Ovechkin picks the corner with rocket

 

They said it

"He brings a lot of things to the table even if he doesn't score every night. He brings a lot of energy and a lot of confidence in this group. He's our leader and he's our best player." -- Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist on Sidney Crosby

 

"It's not going to be easy, especially against the defending Stanley Cup champions. … They're the Stanley Cup champions. So we have to dictate the game. From the first minute of the game we have to make a statement." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on the importance of Game 2

 

Need to know

Ovechkin has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Penguins. Crosby has 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 14 playoff games against the Capitals. … Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz played his 107th playoff game, tying him with Mario Lemieux for fifth most in Penguins history.

 
What's next

Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Verizon Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports)

 

Video: Crosby's pair leads Pens past Caps in Game 1, 3-2

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