PITTSBURGH – On a night the Pittsburgh Penguins felt satisfied to limit Alex Ovechkin to one goal, they needed 3 1/2 periods and a huge disparity in shots and power plays before figuring out how to beat the Washington Capitals and whiz kid goalie Simeon Varlamov.
They did it Wednesday night by turning Sidney Crosby, the goal scorer, back into Crosby, the exceptional setup man, and shaking NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin out of a slump that was threatening to put them out of the playoffs.
Kris Letang scored his first career playoff goal on a shot from the point at 11:23 of overtime after Crosby’s faceoff win and the Penguins avoided going down three games to the Capitals by winning 3-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Letang’s shot deflected off Capitals defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and past the 21-year-old Varlamov, who had stopped nearly everything the Penguins threw at him while making 39 saves.
Washington scored first – on a goal by Ovechkin – then let Pittsburgh control the play for most of the game. The Penguins led 42-23 in shots and 7-2 in power plays.
“We knew we had Tanger set up for a one-timer if we won it clean,” Crosby said. “I just got it back to (Mark) Eaton and we got a good bounce there. We’ve been working on those plays, so it’s nice to see when it works.”
Hurricanes defeat Bruins
RALEIGH, N.C. – The game was tied and time was running out. For Carolina, that meant it was Jussi Jokinen’s time to shine.
Jokinen scored at 2:48 of overtime to lift the Hurricanes past the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern semifinal series.
Sergei Samsonov scored a goal and assisted on Jokinen’s winner for the Hurricanes, who took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 set for Friday night in Raleigh.
“Obviously it feels great, with the things I’ve been through this year,” said Jokinen, waived by Tampa Bay before being traded to Carolina in February. “I found my confidence again here.”