May 4 (UPI) — Evgeni Malkin scored while diving at the net in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win in Game 4 of its Stanley Cup playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Jake Guentzel scored twice in the victory.
“I think it was just good defense,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters. “There wasn’t a lot of room on either end out there. I think both teams are defending extremely hard.”
Malkin made the brilliant effort in the second period Thursday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Penguins and Capitals were tied at 1-1 with 2:29 remaining in the frame. Malkin ripped a shot toward the Capitals’ net, but the attempt hit the far post behind Braden Holtby.
The puck then sat just in front of the line, before Holtby could snatch it. Malkin then dove at the goal, hitting the puck with his stick and knocking it past the line to give the Penguins a 2-1 advantage.
Pittsburgh earned its initial lead 9:21 into the second period. Sidney Crosby slid the puck over to Dominik Simon on that play. Simon then found Guentzel to his right. The Penguins center crossed the puck in front of Holtby, beating him stick side.
The Capitals evened the score 3:34 later while on a power play. Nicklas Backstrom was skating on the right flank on that play, near the Penguins’ net. He hovered around the circle and did some light stick work, before firing a pass to T.J. Oshie in front of the net. Oshie ripped a screaming one-timer past Matt Murray.
Then came Malkin’s improbable score. The Capitals challenged for goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld.
Guentzel returned for his second score of the night with 58 seconds remaining. He scored his tenth goal of the playoffs while on a power play, draining an empty netter from out near the blue line.
“I think we all knew we had to get this one, especially at home ice,” Guentzel said. “I think right from the drop of the puck we played a full 60 minutes. That just shows what we can do. It was definitely a huge win for us.”
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference series is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.