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Game 1: Capitals get the edge in an evenly played game

Capitals Take Game 1

T.J. Oshie’s hat trick powered the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

A matchup between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference and in some eyes, maybe the two best teams left in the playoff field, Game 1 played out to be mostly a 50-50 game.

“This game could have went either way,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It was an even game.”

The stats back that stance up.

Shots were Pittsburgh 45, Washington 35

5 v 5 Goals | Washington 4 – Pittsburgh 3 |

5 v 5 Shot Attempts: | Pittsburgh 66 – Washington 63 | Overall Shot Attempts (PIT 77 – WSH 76)

5 v 5 Scoring Chances: | Pittsburgh 30 – Washington 24 |

When it came to special teams play, both penalty kills were excellent, Washington 0-4 on the power play, Pittsburgh 0-2.

There are a lot of areas to nitpick for both clubs in Game 1 but at the end of the day, this was just the beginning of the start of two evenly matched clubs with a slight edge to the Capitals coming in.

Game 1 had a lot of different waves in the game which should be expected.

Pittsburgh opened the game with a 5-1 shot edge in period one, Washington then out-shot Pittsburgh 14-4 over the final 14:30 of the period and led 1-0 after twenty minutes.

In the second period, the territorial edge went to Pittsburgh. They erupted with two goals in 57 seconds that led to a back and forth game.

Pittsburgh out-shot Washington 30-12 in the final forty minutes of regulation, out-attempting Washington 47-29.

Overtime things went back into the Capitals direction who had numerous chances to end this one before Oshie’s wrap around goal. Washington carried the play with a +7 advantage in 5 v 5 attempts during overtime.

Individually it was second tier players (good Bonino, Oshie) and bad performances (Maatta/Daley) than the stars being the difference either way.

Evgeni Malkin had a beautiful back hand goal but had a costly turnover leading to the Capitals opening goal and his puck management was extremely poor when entering the zone.

Sidney Crosby while strong in the faceoff circle (19-6, 68%), and at driving possession (58 CF%), was pointless and a minus-3 as Crosby was on the ice for 0 even strength goals for and 3 against.

For the Capitals Nicklas Backstrom was pointless. Alexander Ovechkin had an assist on Oshie’s go-ahead goal in the third, but was stopped on two breakaways and denied on a glorious attempt in front moments into overtime.

None of the stars changed this game one way or another.

The best players on the ice were no question T.J. Oshie and Nick Bonino.

Oshie who the Penguins considered trading for last summer prior to acquiring Phil Kessel, former assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald is said to have pushed hard as hell for Oshie, just did it all for the Capitals tonight. It wasn’t just about the goals, the little things in keeping plays alive, taking a beating in front of the net, he gave the type of performance the Penguins didn’t get out of Patric Hornqvist tonight.

For Bonino, he was sensational for Pittsburgh in the loss.

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He showed tremendous poise and creativity with the puck, setting up the Penguins first goal of the game with a great individual play and the puck was just following all night, leading to his game tying goal in the third.

Bonino going head-to-head with Evgeny Kuznetsov, owned the Capitals second line center in this one. If that trend continues, it’s going to be good news for Pittsburgh in the coming games.

Injury Watch

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Chris Kunitz left the game and did not return…..Conor Sheary took a knee from Tom Wilson but finished the game….

PIT Leaders

Points: Nick Bonino (1 goal, 1 assist), Carl Hagelin (2 assists)

Shots: Phil Kessel (6), Evgeni Malkin (5)

Hits: Kris Letang (7)

Blocked Shots: Evgeni Malkin (4), Ian Cole (4)

TOI: Kris Letang (34:02)

5 v 5 CF%: Carl Hagelin (67%)

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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