Hey, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals finally played on Thursday! Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs! We've been waiting for this for
only a few years ages and ages! Surely that's all there is to talk about after Game 1.
We're going to talk about their teammates, because they were the ones who shined in the most anticipated game of the Stanley Cup playoffs so far.
Let's start with the obvious one: T.J. Oshie. The Capitals winger registered his first career hat trick, including a game-winning overtime goal we'll certainly Zapruder all Friday. He was excellent.
So was Evgeni Malkin. He was overshadowed by Phil Kessel and Crosby in the first round, but he came out swinging hard in the second round opener. Malkin scored, tussled with the Capitals' biggest pest (we'll get to him in a bit) and was the most animated and intense Penguin on and off the ice.
Don't get me wrong. Crosby and Ovechkin were involved all night too. But they relied on their teammates as much as their teammates have relied upon them in playoffs past. To me, that's what makes this series 10 times more exciting than the last time these two teams met in the playoffs.
It's not just Sid vs. Ovi anymore. It's Sid, Phil, Malkin, Nick Bonino, a rookie goalie and others vs. Ovi, Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Vezina Trophy nominee Braden Holtby and others. Those extra layers made for a thrilling Game 1 and should make for the best series of the playoffs by the time its over.
Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
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3 things we learned
1. Matt Murray is more than up for the Holtby challenge
With Marc-Andre Fleury still battling back from a concussion, the Penguins again turn to Murray in net against the best Eastern Conference team. Whether the 21-year-old could match Braden Holtby save-for-save was a huge question looming over the series. Murray offered a good answer with 25 saves, many of them as excellent as this one on Ovechkin:
He didn't get the win, but I'm not sure how much more you could ask for.
2. Wait, hold up. Did you see the pass in that video?
Sure did. But let's gaze at the greatness of Nicklas Backstrom on loop:
2. I guess we learned Nicklas Backstrom is a passing wizard.
If you didn't already know then that's on you, pal.
3. Jay Beagle has a complicated relationship with hockey sticks
Impact Moment I
Well, the first is obviously Oshie's overtime winner. It came down to one camera angle and a few inches:
Impact Moment II
The Penguins were upset that Capitals winger Tom Wilson wasn't penalized for this hit on rookie Conor Sheary in the second period:
Will the NHL issue a fine to make up for it? Stay tuned.
Tweets from Tony
Remember Tony, AKA @soloucity on Twitter, who fell in love with hockey during the Blues/Blackhawks Game 7? We're dedicating a section in our recaps to the gems of his Twitter account during the playoffs.
this dude murray is legit— Tony X. (@soIoucity) April 29, 2016
dude got smashed on that blind side hit lmaooo thats a ejection and 20k fine in the nfl— Tony X. (@soIoucity) April 29, 2016
Stat of the Night