As Kris Letang’s shot bounced off the defender and past Simeon Varlamov, Mellon Arena erupted and the Penguins got new life in the series.
Despite the result and the stats, this is a game that the Capitals had a chance to win and they should be proud of the way they played.
The Capitals were out shot 42-23 and had seven penalties to only two by the Penguins yet they were one non fortuitous bounce away from continuing the game with a chance to move to 3-0 in the series.
After taking over for Theodore in game two of the Rangers series, Simeon Varlamov has been stellar between the pipes and single handedly kept the Capitals in this game with an impressive 39 saves.
Varlamov has shown maturity beyond his years and his performance tonight leaves no doubt that he is a goalie that can carry the Capitals to the Stanley Cup final.
The Capitals knew that going to Pittsburgh would be tough and that the Penguins would undoubtedly be playing for their playoff lives, but Washington matched the Pens intensity and sent a message that Pittsburgh would have to play near perfect to beat them.
There is a conspiracy theory going around from some Caps fans that the NHL wants the Penguins to win so that officials are calling the game in their favor. I believe there were some blown calls in other games but this game was called fair and the Capitals need to cut down on their penalties if they want to win two more games in this series.
The Capitals penalty killers, which had been the weak point of their team thus far in the playoffs, limited the Pittsburgh power play to only one goal on seven tries. The group will need to build on the success they had tonight especially if the series is going to start getting called a little tighter.
Evgeni Malkin finally stepped up, getting his first goal of the series. If he plays like he did tonight Pittsburgh will be a very tough out in the series. Malkin looked like a man on a mission and was the best player on the ice tonight and made up for Sidney Crosby being a non factor.
Stats sheets often do not indicate how the game was played and that was true of the game tonight. The Penguins kept the pressure on and out shot the Capitals but they never really had them over matched.
The Capitals played good enough to win tonight and should have confidence going into game four on Saturday. This just became a “series” and I look forward to a hard fought game four, a game I believe will be won by the Capitals.