Capitals cruise past Penguins, tie Stanley Cup playoff series

Capitals cruise past Penguins, tie Stanley Cup playoff series

April 30 (UPI) — The Washington Capitals tied their Stanley Cup playoffs series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 4-1 win in Game 2.

The Eastern Conference series is tied 1-1 heading into Game 3 after Pittsburgh’s triumph Sunday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Washington lost Game 1 of the series 3-2 on Thursday on home ice.

Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin got the scoring started on Sunday. He took control of the puck just past the Penguins’ blue line. Ovechkin immediately shot the puck, placing it top shelf, past Matt Murray’s left shoulder 1:26 seconds into the game.

Jakub Vrana added Washington’s second score of the game with an assist from an unexpected source during a power play. Net minder Braden Holtby fired a pass up to Vrana, who passed on to Lars Eller. Eller returned a feed to Vrana, who beat Murray glove side for a second time.

The Capitals took the 2-0 lead into the second period, before Brett Connolly added a third score for the home squad. Washington took advantage of a Pittsburgh defensive switch with Eller finding a wide-open Connolly skating down the ice. Connolly shot to Murray’s left and the puck ricocheted into the net 2:08 into the second frame.

Kris Letang scored the Penguins’ lone goal at 13:04 in the second period. The veteran defenseman ripped in a shot from back at the blue line, making the score 3-1.

Pittsburgh had a goal taken off of the board at 10:57 in the third period, as Holtby was given credit for a save, despite the puck appearing to have crossed the goal line.

Niklas Backstrom scored the final goal of the game with just seven seconds remaining. Ellers passed to right wing Tom Wilson on the play. Wilson found Backstrom, who hit a wrist shot into the Penguins’ empty net.

“You can see what happened last game when we got the lead 2-0 and they came back and won the game,” Ovechkin told reporters. “Like I said before, the experienced team is not going to give up and give easy plays for us.”

The Penguins and Capitals return for Game 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa.