Bonino scores late as Pens top Caps in Game 1
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[April 28, 2017]
WASHINGTON -- Bearing down on
goal in the third period of a 2-2 game, Pittsburgh Penguins forward
Nick Bonino kept things simple, and it worked.
Bonino scored the go-ahead goal with 7:24 remaining, Marc-Andre
Fleury stopped 33 shots, and the Penguins defeated the Washington
Capitals 3-2 on Thursday night to take a 1-0 lead in their
best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"I haven't had a breakaway in I don't know how long, so I just tried
to get it on net," Bonino said of the game-winner.
Defenseman Ian Cole started the winning play when he fired a long
pass to Scott Wilson up the left side. Wilson crossed the blue line
and then fed a streaking Bonino, who was ahead of the defense and
beat goalie Braden Holtby with a high wrist shot.
"Bones is a guy that's a high-stakes player," Penguins coach Mike
Sullivan said. "He brings his best game when the game's most
Bonino's second goal of the playoffs came just 4:31 after the
Capitals tied the score.
Fleury was then stellar to the finish, especially during an extended
scramble in front of him with about three minutes left.
"When are they gonna blow the whistle?" Sullivan said when asked
about his thoughts during the scramble. "Marc obviously made a
couple of big stops for us, and I think that's what he's done
throughout the course of the playoffs. He gives us that timely save
when we need it."
Sidney Crosby scored two goals 52 seconds apart to give Pittsburgh a
2-0 lead early in the second period. Patric Hornqvist assisted on
both. Crosby now has four goals and nine points in six playoff
Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth goal of the playoffs to cut the
deficit to 2-1 late in the second period, and Washington tied it at
8:05 of the third. After a scramble in front, Matt Niskanen gained
control of the puck on the right-wing boards and made a perfect pass
across the slot to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who one-timed the puck into a
Holtby made 18 saves.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Washington.
"We put 80-plus pucks at their net tonight, they put about 40 toward
ours," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We did a lot of good
things, but we obviously didn't do enough. ... I thought all three
goals were very preventable on our side today."
The best save of a scoreless first period belonged to Pittsburgh
center Jake Guentzel. After a Fleury save, the rebound went to T.J.
Oshie, who appeared to have a big opening. Guentzel, who was in the
crease, made a kick save while falling into the net, and Fleury was
able to cover the puck just in front of the goal line.
Once the second period started, it took only 64 seconds for Crosby
to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
[to top of second column]
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) celebrates with Pittsburgh
Penguins center Nick Bonino (13) after their game against the
Washington Capitals in game one of the second round of the 2017
Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Penguins won 3-2.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Just after the opening faceoff, Niskanen got caught
up ice and the Penguins came in two-on-one. Guentzel passed across
ice from the left circle and Crosby's one-timer from the right
circle beat the sliding Holtby.
Less than a minute after the faceoff, Holtby made a save on Olli
Maatta's shot from the point. The rebound went to Hornqvist in front
and he slid a short pass to a driving Crosby, who fired past Holtby
at 1:04 of the period.
"We came off and then got out there again. We were able to get a
quick chance and put it in," Crosby said. "That's how it goes.
Sometimes you don't get some for a while and then they come in
bunches and it's nice to see a couple go in."
Things could have gotten worse for Washington minutes later, but
Holtby stopped Phil Kessel on a breakaway.
Ovechkin pulled the Capitals within 2-1 when he a took pass from
Lars Eller just inside the blue line, skated to the top of the
circle and fired a short-side wrister over Fleury's shoulder with
1:43 left in the period.
"We come out a little bit slow," Ovechkin said. "The first and
second period, we make one mistake and they score right away. Then
next shift they score again. After that, we played the way wanted to
play. We put (the) puck deep, we forecheck, we hit."
NOTES: The Capitals outhit the Penguins 41-17. ... Penguins C Sidney
Crosby now has 10 goals and seven assists in 14 playoff games vs.
Washington. ... Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin now has 22 points (11
goals, 11 assists) in 14 playoff games against Pittsburgh. ... Each
of Washington's seven playoff games has been decided by one goal.
... Pittsburgh LW Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) took limited
contact in the morning skate and remains day-to-day. F Chris Kunitz
(lower body) returned after missing 10 games including the regular
season and playoffs. F Carter Rowney was scratched. ... Penguins D
Chad Ruhwedel (upper body) remains out. ... Washington D Karl Alzner
(upper body) missed his fifth consecutive game and is day-to day.
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