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Oshie hat trick worth wait for Capitals

Washington wins Game 1 against Pittsburgh in OT after video review confirms forward's third goal

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The wait lasted for a little more than four minutes, but to T.J. Oshie it felt interminable.

Oshie was fairly certain he had scored 9:33 into overtime Thursday to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series. As officials in the NHL Situation Room in Toronto reviewed Oshie's wrapround to see if the puck had completely crossed the goal line, there was enough time for the ice crew to clear all the hats that had been tossed onto the Verizon Center ice by Capitals fans.

At stake was a 1-0 lead for the Capitals in the best-of-7 series and Oshie's first hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Referee Dan O'Rourke, who was looking into the net from behind it, had pointed to the puck, signaling a goal, but it took awhile to find video confirmation.

"The wait seemed pretty long," Oshie said. "I thought I saw it all the way across. I don't know if I did or not. I put my hands up to the ref and he marked it a goal, so that kind of reassured me, but it was a close one."

Oshie circled behind the net with the puck and tried to beat goaltender Matt Murray inside the left post. Murray got there an instant before Oshie, but the puck went off the shaft of Murray's stick and then his right pad before sliding inside the post. It was difficult to tell, however, if the puck completely crossed the goal line.

Video: PIT@WS, Gm1: Oshie steals feed, races in for snipe

Standing on the visiting bench, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan shook his head and said, "I don't know."

Oshie sat on the Capitals bench through the first couple of minutes of the video review and looked at one of the monitors there hoping to see definitive evidence that the puck was over the line.

Oshie couldn't find any, but he also didn't see anything that showed the puck didn't cross the goal line.

"We have the [monitors] back behind the bench, so I went to look at those, and all the views that I saw, you couldn't tell if it went over or not," Oshie said. "[Murray] was covering it up. So I figured at least it was a goal on the ice, so if it's 50-50, it's going to be a goal."

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he was "confident it was a goal," but he remembered some video reviews didn't go Washington's way this season, "so, you always hold your breath for a second."

Eventually, NBCSN showed a replay angle in which there was clearly some white ice between the edge of the puck and the red goal line. That replay made its way onto the center ice scoreboard video screen, bringing cheers from crowd. By then, Oshie was back on the ice and standing in front of the bench, eagerly waiting for O'Rourke to end his conversation with officials back in Toronto.

Finally, O'Rourke took off the headset, stepped back and announced that the video review confirmed that Oshie's goal was a good one. That allowed the Capitals and their fans to celebrate again.

It was the first playoff overtime goal of Oshie's eight-season NHL career.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Oshie nets his second goal for the lead

"I haven't won too many championships in my lifetime even through the youth years," Oshie said. "That's kind of the stuff you dream about when you're a kid playing in the backyard by yourself, is scoring the OT winner and getting a hat trick. So, it was awesome, a great way to win."

Oshie, 29, didn't come close to having a playoff moment like this during his seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues; he had five goals and four assists in 30 postseason games. Now, the July 2 trade that brought Oshie to Washington has produced a playoff hero for each team.

Troy Brouwer, who went to St. Louis in that trade, scored the winning goal in the Blues' 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round series Monday.

"You always want to be the guy that's able to get the game-winner, especially in overtime in NHL playoffs," Oshie said. "It's pretty cool, but there was a lot of things that led up to that throughout the overtime and the third period and pretty much the whole game."

Oshie's day began with him finding a "Let's go Pens" sign on his front steps as he was heading out to the Capitals practice rink for their morning skate.  

"Just one of my neighbors," Oshie said of the culprit.

A Penguins fan?

"Must be," Oshie said. "I don't know."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Oshie wraps OT winner for hat trick

After Oshie left, his wife, Lauren, and 2-year-old daughter, Lyla, went to work on the sign. Later in the day, a video of Lyla, dressed in a Capitals jersey, kicking over the rolled up sign made its way onto Instagram.

"My wife got a little clever with it when I wasn't around," Oshie said.

Oshie delivered a bigger blow to the Penguins on the ice. All three of his goals were timely.

The first, which tied it 2-2 at 12:20 of the second period, came 33 seconds after goals 57 seconds apart from Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead. Capitalizing on a turnover by Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta, Oshie raced in on the right wing with Kris Letang in pursuit before beating Murray over his glove.

"I figured I wasn't going to be able to get all the way to the net and deke or at least sell a fake," Oshie said. "I thought I saw something up top glove there. I didn't think it got really too high. I think it maybe caught him off guard and found the top of the net."

Oshie struck again 3:23 into the third period, taking a pass from Alex Ovechkin and sliding a backhand in under Murray's left pad for a 3-2 Washington lead. He called that one "a little lucky."

Oshie also thought his overtime goal was "maybe a little lucky."

"But, that's what the playoffs are all about," he said. "It's about taking the puck to the net, getting funny bounces and finding ways to get the puck behind the goalie."

Video: Situation Room: Oshie's OT winner stands after review

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