Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-1

Penguins erase 2-goal deficit beat Capitals 3-2 in Game 1

It's undeniable Pittsburgh has gotten sub-optimal starts against the Capitals. Then two minutes into the middle period, Connolly caught the Penguins changing and beat Murray glove-side on a breakaway wrister, his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a vital cushion. It was 3-1 for over 26 minutes equating to almost half the game.

But can they survive without their best defensive player?

All-time, the battles between the two teams lean decidedly in Pittsburgh's favor. They're an experienced team and they know how to win.

The Penguins dropped game two to the Capitals 4-1 and now the series is all tied up at 1 with the series shifting to Pittsburgh for games 3 and 4. That includes seven-game victories in 2009 and 2017, as well as a six-game victory in 2016.

Somehow, the replay center couldn't act on that look, and it certainly cost the Penguins as the Capitals drew even in the series. The bad news is that the Capitals have a two-goal lead. Some will undoubtedly suggest that Ovechkin's numbers are boosted by his presence on the power play, but that's not quite the case. A year ago, the Capitals lost the game Crosby missed with a concussion.

If you're to make the case about the offensive contributions, it's worth considering what the rest of team has done around their respective superstar captains, as well.

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"I'm at no point trying to target the head at all", Wilson told the Washington Post. Byfuglien scored between Rinne's pads on a four-on-four at 12:47, and Scheifele made it 2-1 with a power-play goal at 13:16. No definitive replays showing the puck over the goal line and Wilson's hit that injured Dumoulin left them steaming but also kicking themselves for starting slow and falling behind again.

Lars Eller also helped Washington with three assists. "I think we learned from Game 1", said Connolly.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were irritated after a disallowed goal in the third period and a brutal hit to the head that took out one of their defensemen were turning points in their Game 2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

This was a game Nashville desperately needed to win since they had dropped Game 1 on their home ice.

And true as it is that there's more to the game than pure offense, the underlying numbers don't really suggest Ovechkin has been overshadowed by Crosby. It should be said, too, that Ovechkin had generated 57 more shot attempts, 22 more shots and thirteen more individual scoring chances than Crosby in the three prior meetings. Through two games, Ovechkin has the edge in nearly every category. The Jets carried play for most of the third period and finished the evening with a 50-41 advantage in shots on goal. The Penguins celebrated. The Capitals protested. So let's blame the victim instead of the perpetrator with a history because again it's the National Hockey League. You just have to play the full 60.

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