The first game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins did not disappoint. The stars came to play as Sidney Crosby scored twice and Alex Ovechkin added one of his own in a 3-2 Pittsburgh victory who now lead the series 1-0.
The Penguins came out flying to start the game. It was a similar start as to how the Capitals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs began. In the first period, they were unable to find their legs and the speed of the Penguins forwards were giving them issues. Washington settled in towards the second half of the first period and a hard forecheck changed the tempo of the game in their favor.
The second period was a nightmare start for the Capitals. Crosby scored twice before the period was two minutes old. This immediately put the pressure on Washington, but it seemed to awaken the Capitals. They began to play with the physicality that made them a dominant team all season, and Alex Ovechkin was able to cut the lead in half before the end of the second period. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game just before the half way point of the third and the Capitals had the Penguins in desperation mode for much of the final period.
Pittsburgh grabbed a 3-2 lead when Nick Bonino scored on a breakaway after a sloppy defensive play by Washington.
Cue the Bonino chants.
The Capitals put the Penguins under siege after they fell behind and out shot the Penguins in the third period, 16-6. The Capitals out-shot Pittsburgh 35-21, and out-hit them 41-17. Washington certainly looked like the better team for a majority of Game One, but will need to have a better start in Game Two, if they want to even the series.
Washington has some history on their side. They are 10-6 in Game Twos when they trail a series 0-1. In last year’s series against the Penguins, Pittsburgh lost the first game and ended up winning three straight before closing it out in Game Six.
Game Two goes Saturday night, 8:00 P.M. at the Verizon Centre.