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game recap

Penguins win again, defeat Capitals in Game 2

Pittsburgh scores six, Marc-Andre Fleury makes 34 saves

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- After goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not allow a goal facing 16 shots in the first period, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three times in each of the final two periods for a 6-2 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Saturday.

The Penguins, 6-1 this postseason, lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 with Game 3 at Pittsburgh on Monday.

 

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

 

Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel each had two goals and an assist, but Pittsburgh knew it wouldn't have been in the game if not for Fleury, who finished with 34 saves.

"He's been our best player," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "In the first series (against the Columbus Blue Jackets), the first two games here, he's made timely saves for us, especially in that first period."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Kessel wires in his second for PPG

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots in the first two periods, and Philipp Grubauer made six saves in the third.

The Penguins were being outshot 19-5 before Matt Cullen beat Holtby between the pads on a shorthanded break to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead 1:15 into the second period. Matt Niskanen scored a power-play goal from the left circle at 2:09 of the second period to tie it 1-1.

Sidney Crosby assisted on goals by Kessel at 13:04 and Guentzel at 16:14 to make it 3-1. Crosby set up Kessel for a right-circle shot into the right corner, then blocked Justin Williams' shot from above the left circle and nudged the puck ahead to Guentzel, who raced down and beat Holtby to the short side from the right circle.

"The playoffs are made of big moments," Holtby said. "That third goal, that's a big moment. That's where your goalie needs to come up with a save and I just didn't."

Kessel scored a power-play goal from the left circle 2:19 into the third period to make it 4-1. Nicklas Backstrom knocked in an Alex Ovechkin rebound to pull the Capitals within 4-2 at 3:44, but Malkin put the Penguins up 5-2 with a deflection at 5:31.

Guentzel scored an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left to make it 6-2. He leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven goals.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Guentzel strikes on odd-man rush

 

Goal of the game

After taking a pass from Guentzel in the neutral zone, Crosby put the puck between his legs as he crossed the Capitals blue line, drawing three defenders to him before dishing off to Kessel.

"He fought off a couple guys and obviously he's special like that," Kessel said. "He's real strong out there and he'll make a great play."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Kessel finishes Crosby's nice feed

 

Save of the game

Tied 0-0, the Capitals were on the power play with 1:27 remaining in the first period. Andre Burakovsky made a strong move to the net from the right side and attempted to tuck the puck inside the far post. But Fleury stayed with Burakovsky as he cut across the front of the net and kicked out his right pad to make the save.

 

Highlight of the game

Cullen blocked Kevin Shattenkirk's point shot, then chased down the loose puck before fighting through Shattenkirk's hook to slip the puck between Holtby's pads.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Cullen blocks shot, buries SHG

 

Unsung performance of the game

The Penguins were leading 5-2 when defenseman Ron Hainsey stepped in front of a high left-circle shot from Ovechkin with the Capitals on the power play and 2:23 remaining in the third period. Hainsey turned his head at the last instant, was struck on the back of the helmet with the puck, and had to be helped off the ice.

 

They said it

"They came hard. They put us back. They're a skilled team, a quick team. I just tried to keep our team in the game, and I thought the guys defended well and helped me out around the net, taking rebounds and blocking some shots." -- Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Fleury shuts down Williams, Kuznetsov

 

"We're in a little hole. We need to focus on Game 3 and winning that and that is it." -- Capitals right wing Justin Williams

 

Need to know

Crosby moved one point ahead of Jaromir Jagr into second place in Penguins history with 148 Stanley Cup Playoff points (53 goals, 95 assists). Mario Lemieux has 172 points (76 goals, 96 assists). Jagr had 65 goals, 83 assists. … Backstrom tied Dale Hunter for the most playoff assists in Capitals history (47).  … Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist left the game after blocking a John Carlson shot off his leg with 4:18 left in first period. … Penguins left wing Carl Hagelin returned from a lower-body injury to play for the first time since March 10.

 

What's next

Game 3 of Eastern Conference Second Round at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports)

 

Video: Kessel's pair leads Pens past Caps in Game 2, 6-2

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