Penguins edge Capitals in overtime to open 3-1 series lead

Thu May 5, 2016 2:46am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - Patric Hornqvist scored 2:34 into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins seized a 3-1 series lead over the NHL regular season champion Washington Capitals, winning 3-2 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Wednesday.

"It's huge, obviously -- 3-1 is a lot more desirable than 2-2," said Penguins rookie goalie Matt Murray, who made 34 saves. "But we know we've got a lot of work left to do. We know nothing's done."

The Penguins, winners of 21-of-25 dating back to the regular season, had lost eight consecutive overtime playoff games until Capitals defenseman Mike Weber accidentally tapped the puck on Hornqvist's stick for a wrist shot that beat goalie Braden Holtby through his legs.

"It was obviously great to see the puck go in, we win the game and we're up 3-1," Hornqvist said. "I tried to shoot it as hard as I could."

Pittsburgh-native Weber, back in the lineup for the first time since the opening-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, was trying to get the puck out when it flew directly to Hornqvist in the right circle for his fifth goal of the playoffs and first playoff overtime winner.

"It's what probably any defenseman would have done in that situation -- the puck's rolling around and you're trying to poke it out of the danger zone," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said.

"It just so happens the guy (Hornqvist) is flying in there."

Murray withstood a Capitals goal by center Jay Beagle less than three minutes into the game to win for the 13th time in his last 14 starts -- and the Penguins withstood the loss of star defenseman Kris Letang to a one-game suspension.

"We didn't take advantage of it (Letang's absence)," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Now we've dug ourselves a hole. We'll see if we can dig ourselves out."   Continued...

May 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) takes the ice against the Washington Capitals during the first period in game four of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports