Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Capitals win game three, Crosby injured

Updated: 

The Washington Capitals claimed a thrilling overtime win to get back into their NHL playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Facing almost certain elimination should they fall into an 0-3 hole to the Penguins, the Capitals nearly choked away yet another promising season when Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz scored 48 seconds apart to push Monday's game three into overtime.

Then the Kevin Shattenkirk trade finally paid off.

Through his fair share of postseason struggles, Washington's prized rental defenseman all but redeemed himself by scoring the biggest goal of the Caps' season three minutes, 13 seconds into the extra frame for a 3-2 win.

The Capitals' win saw them halve their series deficit to 2-1.

Washington caught more than a few breaks that could well shift momentum heading into game four, including seeing Penguins star Sidney Crosby injured early on.

 

Three stars

Justin Williams, Capitals - Williams continues to live up to his big-game reputation after setting set up both of Washington's regulation goals, running his playoff point total to eight in nine games.

Evgeni Malkin, Penguins - With Crosby out and the Penguins' bench reduced to 10 forwards, they called on Malkin to lead the comeback. He took command, scored and assisted on the game-tying goal and now leads all playoff scorers with 15 points.

Braden Holtby, Capitals - Washington needed Holtby to be their best player after sub-par efforts in games one and two, and he was. He made 30 saves and was pitching a shutout until two tough breaks in the game's final two minutes. Mission accomplished.

Highlights

In a game which would have shifted drastically on a single goal, two near-misses loomed large. First, Bryan Rust had a sure goal halfway through the first period stopped by Daniel Winnik's stick.

Then, in the second period, Patric Hornqvist bailed out Marc-Andre Fleury with a goal-line save of his own.

Tuesday's game to watch

Game three: Senators at Rangers - The Senators are the feel-good story of the playoffs. Discounted against the Boston Bruins in the first round and again upon drawing the Rangers, they have responded by going 6-2 in decisive fashion. It is easy to forget Ottawa have held the home-ice advantage in both series. Coming off a pair of comeback victories, the sneaky Sens can put themselves on the brink of an Eastern Conference finals berth with more of the same in game three as they eye a 3-0 lead.