The Capitals entered Pittsburgh looking to regain home-ice advantage after relinquishing the privilege in game one.
After a scoreless but penalty-filled first period; both teams came out swinging scoring a combined three goals in the first 6:49 of the period.
Capitals defenseman John Carlson got things started 48 seconds after the second intermission with 2 seconds remaining on a Evgeni Malkin penalty that carried over from the first period. Carlson’ goal was his 9th power play point this postseason; and assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
Jake Guentzel scored his 8th goal of this year’s playoffs less than four minutes later to tie the game at 1-1. Patric Hornqvist gave the Penguins their first lead on a power play goal at the 6:49 mark of the second period.
Hornqvist’s goal ended the Capitals successful penalty kill streak at 24; and was assisted by Phil Kessel and Malkin, Malkin’s second assist of the night in his first game back from injury.
The talk around the league tomorrow will be the hit Tom Wilson laid on Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese at the 9:47 mark of the second period. No penalty was called on the play and Aston-Resse skated off the ice straight to the locker room leaving a trail of blood behind. Wilson’s hit will be looked at by the league Wednesday for a possible suspension; especially following his hit on Brian Dumoulin in game two. Aston-Resse suffered a broken jaw and concussion on the hit.
Wilson crushes Aston-Reese with questionable hit https://t.co/xklnx8rKmZ
— Sterling Blount (@sterling19_) May 2, 2018
Chandler Stephenson tied the game again; this time at 2-2, just over a minute after the Wilson hit. Stephenson’s goal was his second of the postseason and was assisted by T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom.
The game didn’t stay tied for long; as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his 2nd point of the night (assisted on the Guentzel goal) by scoring with 3:33 remaining in the second period to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead heading into the second period.
The Capitals tied the game once again 5:06 into the final period of regulation on Matt Niskanen‘s first playoff goal in 2018.
It was none other than Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin who scored the game winning goal on a breakaway with Backstrom (Backstrom’s third assist of the night and 9th of the 2018 playoffs) to give Washington a 4-3 lead with 67 seconds left in regulation. Ovechkin has now scored 5 goals in the past 4 games.
Both teams combined for 12 penalties in game three; 7 of those penalties came in the second period.
A decision from the league on the Wilson hit is expected sometime Wednesday; as the Capitals will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead Thursday night at 7:00pm