First Star- Eric Fehr: Game Winning Goal
Second Star- Phil Kessel: 4 SOG, 18:27 TOI
Third Star- Braden Holtby: 33 Saves
Braden Holtby certainly did his job, turning aside 33 of the 35 shots he faced. His effort was not enough, as the Caps dropped Game 2 and settled for a split series before heading to Pittsburgh. Eric Fehr received heroic honors, deflecting a pass from Evgeni Malkin past Holtby with just under 4:30 to play. It is Fehr’s first goal of the postseason, and it came at just the right time. Skating for 10:36 minutes throughout the game, Fehr made the most of his ice time by potting the game winning goal.
Pittsburgh outplayed and outshot the Caps right from the opening puck drop, putting up 28 shots through 40 minutes and adding another 7 in the final frame for a total on 35 in the game. It was a different story for the Capitals, accumulating only 10 shots through the first two periods. The third period was much better firing 14 at rookie net minder Matt Murray. Murray, who was shaky through the first 55 minutes of the game, ended up playing huge and in control to capture his 4th victory in the last 5 playoff games.
Carl Hagelin found his way to the slot untouched, and buried a one timer from teammate Nick Bonino to open up the scoring. Bonino made a big body play in the corner and around the net to work the puck to the front of the net. He has certainly been a difference maker thus far in the series. Scoring a goal and adding a helper in the first game in a losing effort gave life to a tired and timid Penguins squad.
Early in the final period, Kris Letang got his stick on the wrong side of Justin Williams accidentally tripping him. The efficient and explosive Caps power play made no mistake on the ensuing man advantage. Marcus Johansson set up shop in front of Murray and pounced all over the juicy rebound laying in front of the crease. John Carlson drew his 5th assist of the postseason by providing the initial shot.
What most people already thought was an overtime finish, Eric Fehr had other plans. A tip in in front of the net sealed a road victory for the Pens. Throughout the game Pittsburgh was 0/5 on the power play, but they did manage to get down and block 24 shots before it touched the rookie net minder. Washington utilized their size and strength once again throwing the body 31 times, outhitting their opponent by 10. As well their 63% win on faceoffs was Nicklas Backstrom who won 90% of his draws, T.J. Oshie who won 83% of his, and Justin Williams who won every faceoff he took.
Both teams will travel out to Pittsburgh as the stage is set for Monday night at 8 PM EST. American viewers tune into NBCSN and Canadians look for CBC to catch Game 3.
Featured Image Credit: glogster.com
Three Stars Image: nhl.com