Statistically, it wasn’t going poorly at all. The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins were very close in most major metrics late in the second period on Wednesday night, but in reality, Pittsburgh was all but dominating play with higher-quality chances and sustained possession in the Capitals’ zone.
John Carlson scored with 3 minutes 41 seconds left in the middle frame, a long-awaited complete play that began with a successful board battle. To tie this Eastern Conference Semifinal, and ensure that it would return to Pittsburgh next Tuesday, the Capitals would need to take advantage of an increasingly fatigued and temporarily shorthanded Penguins squad.
It took overtime for the breakthrough to come, but it was Patric Hornqvist who scored unassisted just 2 minutes 34 seconds into the extra session. Now, the most painful May ending that the Washington Capitals have seen yet could be 72 hours away.
It was a Jay Beagle tally from essentially the goal line, less than three minutes into the proceedings, that gave the Capitals an early 1-0 lead. Beagle accelerated into the Pittsburgh zone on the forecheck and got behind the Penguins’ defense, gaining control of the puck just in time to whip a quick attempt past Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray.
Trevor Daley and Matt Cullen, 9 minutes 16 seconds into the first and 3 minutes 7 seconds into the second, respectively, gave the Penguins a lead they would hold for most of the second.