Caps pip Penguins to stay alive in playoffs

Sat May 7, 2016 10:33pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Washington broke through on the power play, right winger Justin Williams scored a key second-period goal and Braden Holtby was dominant in net once again as the Capitals stayed alive in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

The Penguins still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

In a series in which all four games had been decided by one goal, Williams gave the Capitals some breathing room in the second period with some help from fellow forward Jason Chimera, who harangued Brian Dumoulin into a poor clearing pass. Williams gathered the puck inside the blue line and fired a shot that snuck between the pads of Matthew Murray to give the Caps a 3-1 lead with 10:02 left.

Washington then relied on Holtby, who had 30 saves, including back-to-back show-stoppers against right winger Patric Hornqvist and defenseman Justin Schultz late in the second period.

Murray finished with 16 saves for the Penguins.

For two teams that appeared allergic to the power play for most of the series, the early part of the game hinged on extra-man goals.

The Capitals regained the lead early in the second period after Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole was sent to the box for slashing. Alexander Ovechkin blasted a wicked shot off Murray, who couldn't control the rebound, and right winger T.J. Oshie was able to flick the puck into the back of the net to make it 2-1 with exactly four minutes elapsed in the second period.

Washington drew first blood in the opening period thanks to the power play as well. With right winger Bryan Rust off for hooking, Ovechkin needed just eight seconds of advantage time to deliver a rocket over Murray's shoulder and give the Capitals a 1-0 advantage. That broke a 1 of 12 spell on the power play for Washington.

Pittsburgh pulled even later in the period thanks to their special teams, taking advantage of a Nicklas Backstrom interference penalty to score its first power-play goal in 15 tries. Left winger Chris Kunitz produced his first goal of the postseason, collecting the rebound after a Phil Kessel shot and beating Holtby to tie the score 1-1 at 7:08.

May 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports