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Pittsburgh Penguins Even Series With 5-3 Win Over Washington Capitals
"We just have to play simple," Ovechkin said. "You could see at the beginning of the second period, we tried to be so cute. Everybody, me. We have skills, but if we play simple game, it's going to work."
The third period began with the Penguins clinging to a 3-2 lead. But Sidney Crosby's ninth goal of the playoffs restored Pittsburgh's two-goal edge and forced the Capitals to open things up and take more risks, permitting more odd-man rushes.
The play that led to the winning goal began with Bill Guerin chipping the puck off the glass in the Penguins' end. It was gloved down in the neutral zone by Miroslav Satan, who then initiated a two-on-one with Crosby. The Penguins' captain tapped in Satan's crossing pass.
The Capitals came right back on a short-handed goal by Milan Jurcina, his second of the playoffs. The defenseman blasted a slap shot from the point past Fleury after the Pittsburgh goaltender was knocked down by Orpik to make it 4-3.
But Washington couldn't get any closer. Maxime Talbot scored with an ordinary wrist shot on the rush with 5 minutes 14 seconds remaining to clinch the win. Mike Green, perhaps overly anxious to create offense, committed a turnover deep in the Penguins' end.
A two-goal loss would have been hard to predict after the way the night began. Only 36 seconds in, Alexander Semin picked off an errant Penguins pass and zipped the puck up to Nicklas Backstrom, who raced into the zone and blasted a fully wound slap shot past Fleury to make it 1-0.
It might have been the only thing that went right for the Capitals in the first period.
About three minutes later, captain Chris Clark was whistled for his fourth minor penalty in four games. The Capitals came within three seconds of killing off the penalty when Gonchar carried the puck into the Washington end and rifled a slap shot through Jurcina's skates and between Varlamov's pads.
Forward Brooks Laich and defenseman Green had a miscommunication on a breakout pass, resulting in a turnover that led to the Penguins' second goal. Varlamov made two sprawled stops on Crosby, but he wasn't able to stop Guerin's rebound shot at 10:47.
Then came Ovechkin's hit on Gonchar, which negated a Capitals' power play and sent the defenseman to the dressing room at 14:55 with the assistance of the Penguins' trainer.
On the ensuing four-on-four, The Penguins snagged a 3-1 edge when Fedotenko carried the puck in with speed, wound up and fired a shot that Varlamov got his glove on but failed to squeeze at 15:25.
In the second period, the Capitals limited the Penguins to four shots and none in the final 14:10. Clark's first goal of the playoffs, which came on a rebound, pulled them within 3-2.
But it was almost all Penguins in the third.