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Washington Capitals Win Game 1 on TJ Oshie’s Hat Trick

TJ Oshie’s hat trick propelled the Washington Capitals to a victory in Game 1 of their second round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Andre Burakovsky got the ball rolling in the first when he gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins pounded Capitals goalie and Vezina finalist Braden Holtby with nine shots in the period. But the saves Holtby made proved why he received the nomination.

The Penguins came out in the second as a completely different team, registering 17 shots on goal against Holtby. They threw torches at the net, giving themselves a 2-1 lead.

Ben Lovejoy scored his first goal of the playoffs ten minutes into the period. Lovejoy and Nick Bonino glided through four Capitals players to get into the zone. Right at the net Bonino flicked the puck to Lovejoy, who slid it under Holtby.

Evgeni Malkin scored his third goal of the playoffs only 57 seconds later with a slick backhand over Holtby’s shoulder.

Their lead did not last long, though, as the Penguins committed a horrible turnover in the neutral zone. This allowed Oshie to grab the puck and charge the net.

“This game could have went either way,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “It was an even game. Our guys played hard. I thought we carried stretches of momentum for long periods of time. It didn’t go our way. We’ll learn from it, put it behind us and try to get Game 2.”

Oshie grabbed his second goal of the game and playoffs three minutes into the third.

Bonino tied it up a few minutes later.

The Capitals came so close to winning the game at any time in the third, but the hockey gods did not give mercy. Jason Chimera’s shot into a wide open net could not go in and Trevor Daley quickly cleared the puck. Murray went into the splits to stop Alex Ovechkin on a breakaway.

Despite giving up Bonino’s goal, Holtby kept his team in the game to force overtime as well, stopping 12 shots on goal.

Nine minutes into overtime, Oshie became Houdini and caused the puck to disappear under Murray’s pads. Hats flew on the ice, but the Penguins wanted a review.

The immediate TV replays did no show the puck crossing the line, causing mass confusion among fans and spectators. The puck must completely cross the line in order to count.

But one angle did show the puck crossed the line. There was enough white between the puck and the goal line to determine Oshie scored a good goal.

“He seems to be up every single game. I’ve never seen him take a night off,” said Holtby about his teammate Oshie. “His work ethic is through the roof and compete level is amazing. That shows in these games that he’s going to be one of those guys that’s really key for us.”

The teams will play Game 2 on Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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