Penguins Take 3-1 Series Lead
It was another nail biter and it was the Penguins coming out on top for the third straight game as Patric Hornqvist scored 2:34 into overtime, delivering a 3-2 OT win in Game 4.
The Penguins in taking a commanding 3-1 series lead can wrap up the series Saturday night in Washington.
Matt Murray winning his sixth post-season start, stopped 34 of 36 shots. A key save in overtime from Murray was a 2-on-1 stop on Mike Richards, a 1:42 into overtime.
Washington out-shot Pittsburgh 36-33, also holding a slight advantage in shot attempts 68-61.
After squandering a missed opportunity in Game 3 where they badly out-played the Penguins, the Capitals squandered another opportunity in Game 4 with Kris Letang out of the lineup. They just couldn’t finish again.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. ” They knew everybody had to step up. I thought they did. They got some timely stops.”
Trevor Daley who logged a team-high 28:41 of ice time, scored his 1st goal of the playoffs at 9:16 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Matt Cullen put the Penguins ahead 2-1, 3:07 into the second period, beating Braden Holtby for a breakaway goal.
John Carlson then tied the game at 2-2 late in the second period off a gaffe from Derrick Pouliot down low and Conor Sheary losing his man in front.
The back and forth game saw the teams play a scoreless third period. In overtime the chances early went to Washington but it was Pittsburgh that finished their Grade-A chance and Washington didn’t that has become a key storyline in this series.
What the Penguins also did on their overtime goal was capitalize on another miscue from a bottom-pairing Capitals defenseman, this time being Mike Weber who left the puck on a platter for Hornqvist.
“Unlucky play more than anything,” Barry Trotz said in defending Mike Weber.
Hornqvist in netting the OT winner, also had an assist for a multi-point game and had a team-high 6 hits.
“It’s hard not to love this guy,” Mike Sullivan said of Hornqvist, also saying it was a “thrill” to see Hornqvist score.
With Trevor Daley logging over 28 minutes, playing the role of Kris Letang, one other defenseman played over 20 minutes in Brian Dumoulin at 22:10.
Sullivan didn’t think it was a perfect effort from the group but praised the group in doing a terrific job in his eyes.
That’s being a bit generous from Sullivan’s end but aside from Derrick Pouliot, the group was solid.
“I think the group of them did a tremendous job,” said Sullivan.
One player on the backend who had a very strong game was Ian Cole. Cole was extremely poised with the puck in not rushing things and his reads down low were very good.
Another reason the Penguins are up 3-1, their bottom-pairing defensemen have elevated their play, Washington’s have not.
While Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have not been big factors offensively in the series, Nick Bonino has out-played the Capitals top-2 centers, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and tonight in Game 4, Matt Cullen’s breakaway goal in the second period was a blown coverage in the neutral zone by Backstrom in losing Cullen. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"