CAPITALS WIN GAME 3 IN OVERTIME.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lost a hockey game on Monday night. In overtime, no less. And if that turns out to be the largest amount of damage done, chances are they’d be perfectly fine with that.
Kevin Shattenkirk scored at 3:13 of overtime to send the Capitals to a 3-2 victory in Game 3 of their bestof-seven National Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series, but it was a first-period injury — or maybe two — to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby that will be of greater concern in the coming days.
Crosby was injured at 5:24 of the opening period and did not return. No information was immediately available on his condition, although the Penguins were expected to offer an update after the game.
Alex Ovechkin made initial contact with Crosby, his stick coming up high. It also appeared that Ovechkin used his legs to knock Crosby off balance. With Crosby unable to avoid contact or protect himself, Niskanen cross-checked him in the temple. Crosby’s left leg was pinned underneath him, and it shot out violently and awkwardly as he hit the ice.
Crosby remained face-down on the ice for nearly a minute before standing and leav- ing the ice with help from head athletic trainer Chris Stewart.
Niskanen was given a five-minute major for crosschecking, which carries with it an automatic game misconduct.
The Penguins were unable to muster much offensively, before Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz scored in the final 1:53 of regulation to force overtime.
Shattenkirk’s goal came on the power play, from long range, the Capitals second man-advantage goal of the game.
The Penguins still hold a 2-1 advantage, with Game 4 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Crosby wasn’t the only Penguin who left with an injury, either, as this series took a nasty turn.
Winger Conor Sheary collided with Hornqvist at 2:24 of the second period. He, too, did not return.
Sheary’s sternum appeared to bear the brunt of the hit, but Sheary went to the Penguins dressing room holding a towel to his mouth.
One offensive problem for the Penguins was the power play. They failed to score on 10 shots spread over five chances.
That the Penguins dropped Game 3 should certainly not fall at the feet of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was terrific in stopping 30 of 33 shots.
Fleury was especially brilliant late in the second period. Evgeny Kuznetsov had what appeared to be a surefire goal. An acrobatic stick save from Fleury kept it out. Also crucial was Hornqvist yanking the puck off the goal line with his glove.
Chris Kunitz was noticeable all night and appeared to tie the score at 1 at 1:05 of the second period when he deflected a puck past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.
The call on the ice was a goal. Video review said everything checked out OK, although officials appeared to only look at whether the puck crossed the goal line before the net was off its moorings.
When Washington challenged for goaltender interference, the call was reversed and the goal was wiped out.
Kunitz, who blasted T.J. Oshie with a ferocious hit at 5:05 of the second period, nearly scored again on a put back after Malkin’s shot, but Holtby snatched it out of the air like an outfielder.
Washington Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, centre, celebrates his goal in the first period with T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams. Caps won, 3-2 in overtime.