Cap­i­tals hold on to lead this time, beat Pen­guins in Game 2

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY STEPHEN WHYNO

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored his sev­enth goal of the play­offs, Braden Holtby made 32 saves and the Washington Cap­i­tals built a lead and this time held on to beat the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins 4-1 in Game 2 on Sun­day to even the sec­ond-round se­ries. Af­ter blow­ing a two-goal lead for the third time in these play­offs in Game 1, this time Washington built on it. The Cap­i­tals also were the ben­e­fi­ciary of a ques­tion­able video re­view in the third pe­riod when the NHL ruled there were no definitive re­plays show­ing the puck crossed the goal line on what would have been Pitts­burgh’s sec­ond goal. Jakub Vrana scored on the power play and Brett Con­nolly on a break­away for the Cap­i­tals, who have beaten goal­tender Matt Mur­ray glove-side all five of their goals against him through two games. Nick­las Back­strom scored an empty-net­ter to seal it with 6.1 sec­onds left, shortly af­ter T.J. Oshie ap­peared to be in­jured. Mur­ray made 18 of his 28 saves in the first pe­riod when the Cap­i­tals had an on­slaught and built their lead. Holtby robbed Sid­ney Crosby and Jake Guentzel with slid­ing pad saves to on the way to evening the se­ries go­ing into Game 3 Tuesday in Pitts­burgh, which could mark the re­turn of Pen­guins star cen­ter Ev­geni Malkin. In Malkin’s third con­sec­u­tive game out of the lineup with an ap­par­ent leg in­jury, Pitts­burgh felt his ab­sence as it failed to mount much of an of­fen­sive at­tack be­yond the top line of Crosby, Guentzel and Horn­qvist. Crosby and Horn­qvist were on the ice for the Pen­guins’ only goal, Kris Le­tang scor­ing from the point through traf­fic at 4-on-4. The Cap­i­tals im­proved to 2-3 in the play­offs when scor­ing the first two goals of the game. Blow­ing two-goal leads had be­come a theme for Washington, which made Con­nolly’s early-sec­ond-pe­riod goal all that much more im­por­tant.

PREDA­TORS 5, JETS 4, 2OT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kevin Fiala scored 5:37 into dou­ble over­time, and the Nashville Preda­tors beat the Win­nipeg Jets 5-4 on Sun­day night in Game 2 to even the Western Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries. The Pres­i­dents’ Tro­phy winners had the NHL’s best road record dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, but the Preda­tors got the split they needed be­fore this se­ries switches to Win­nipeg for Game 3 on Tuesday night. That’s where the Jets posted the league’s best home record. Craig Smith and Fiala skated up on a 2-on-1, and Jets de­fense­man Byflugien failed to block Smith’s cross-ice pass to Fiala who beat goalie Con­nor Helle­buyck with a back­han­der. Ryan Jo­hansen scored two goals, Vik­tor Arvids­son had a goal and two as­sists, and P.K. Sub­ban had a goal and an as­sist as Nashville won both its 100th post­sea­son game as a fran­chise and coach Peter Lavi­o­lette’s 50th with the team. Filip Fors­berg also had three pri­mary as­sists for the first time in the post­sea­son in his ca­reer. Mark Scheifele scored two goals and had an as­sist. Byflugien had a goal and an as­sist, and Bran­don Tanev had a goal for Win­nipeg. Tanev tied it at 3, putting the puck past Pekka Rinne’s right skate at 5:11 of the third. Jo­hansen an­swered 34 sec­onds later, skat­ing around Jets de­fense­man Toby En­strom and beat­ing Helle­buyck hight. But Scheifele forced over­time with his fourth goal in this se­ries and eighth this post­sea­son with 1:05 left in reg­u­la­tion and Helle­buyck pulled for the ex­tra at­tacker.

AP PHOTO/NICK WASS

Washington Cap­i­tals right wing Brett Con­nolly (10) cel­e­brates his goal dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod in Game 2 of an NHL sec­ond-round hockey play­off se­ries against the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins.

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