Penguins, Capitals pull off upset wins

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·4 min read
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The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals entered their respective series against the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers as the underdogs, but they certainly can’t be dismissed. The cores of both teams are showing their age to be sure. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are each 35 while Sidney Crosby is 34 and Washington is led by the 36-year-old Alex Ovechkin. Still, both teams know how to win high-stakes games, as they did again last night.

Washington pulled off a third period comeback against Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers while Pittsburgh managed to grind out a win against the Rangers in triple overtime. The pressure is now on the favorites to bounce back, which they’ll have a chance to do on Thursday.

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PITTSBURGH 4 NY RANGERS 3 (3OT) (Penguins lead series 1-0)

With Tristan Jarry unavailable due to a lower-body injury, Pittsburgh started backup goaltender Casey DeSmith. DeSmith did his part, stopping 48 of 51 shots, but he was forced to leave the game during the second overtime period because of an injury. That forced the Penguins to put in third-string goaltender Louis Domingue in a high-pressure situation and he held up, saving the 17 shots he faced.

Igor Shesterkin might have gotten the loss, but you can’t blame this one on him. He saved 79 of 83 Penguins shots. That’s the second most saves ever in a postseason game, behind Joonas Korpisalo’s 83 saves in 2020, per the NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.

Bryan Rust scored a goal and registered two assists for the Penguins. He’s up to 20 goals and 30 points in 73 career playoff games.

Evgeni Malkin scored the overtime winner and registered an assist. The Penguins also got two goals from Jake Guentzel.

Chris Kreider scored a shorthanded goal and registered an assist for New York. He had 52 goals and 77 points in 81 regular season games.

Pittsburgh’s Rickard Rakell left the game after taking a hard hit from Ryan Lindgren. The Rangers’ Lindgren later sustained a lower-body injury, so he’s also questionable for Game 2.

WASHINGTON 4 FLORIDA 2 (Capitals lead series 1-0)

Sam Bennett scored late in the first period and Claude Giroux added a goal early in the second to put the Panthers up 2-1. They held that lead through 40 minutes.

The Capitals charged back in the third though thanks to goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, and Lars Eller. That was Oshie’s 29th playoff goal and the sixth that proved to be a game winner.

Alex Ovechkin registered an assist for Washington. He has 71 goals and 136 points in 142 career postseason games.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of 32 Panthers shots. This was his second career playoff game. He stopped just three of four shots in his first postseason start back in 2021.

Sergei Bobrovsky got the nod for Florida and saved 34 of 37 shots. The Capitals outshot the Panthers 12-7 during their third period comeback.

COLORADO 7 NASHVILLE 2 (Avalanche lead series 1-0)

Nathan MacKinnon led the charge for the Avalanche with two goals and an assist. That gives him 30 goals and 72 points in just 51 career playoff games.

Cale Makar provided Colorado with a goal and two assists. Mikko Rantanen assisted on three of Colorado’s seven goals.

David Rittich stopped just eight of 13 shots before being yanked in the first period. Connor Ingram stepped in and stopped 30 of 32 shots the rest of the way.

Matt Duchene scored both Predators goals. Colorado was up 6-0 before Duchene’s first goal though, so his goals never really gave the Avalanche any reason to worry.

Darcy Kuemper saved 23 of 25 Predators shots. With that he earned his eighth career playoff win and his first with the Avalanche.

CALGARY 1 DALLAS 0 (Flames lead series 1-0)

Jacob Markstrom won the goaltending duel, though he only needed to make 16 saves to earn the shutout. Even though the Stars were down, they only managed to get three shots on goal in the third period.

Tyler Seguin tied for the team-high with three shots on Markstrom. Seguin also had a blocked shot in 19:22 minutes of ice time.

Jake Oettinger saved 25 of 26 Flames shots. The only goal he allowed was scored during a Calgary power play.

Elias Lindholm scored that power-play goal. He had 42 goals and 82 points in 82 games during the regular season.

Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau each assisted on the marker. Gaudreau has eight goals and 20 points in 31 career games.