- Penguins and the Predators each evened up their series in close games.
Pittsburgh relied on an Evgeni Malkin go-ahead goal late in the second period to give the Penguins the win and to even up the series against Washington at two games each.
After a scoreless first, Jake Guentzel started it off, pushing a loose puck past goaltender Braden Holtby. It extended his point streak to eight games.
The lead wouldn’t last long. Guentzel took a tripping penalty, and on the power play, T.J. Oshie fired a one-timer in the slot off a feed from Nicklas Backstrom to even up the score.
But Malkin, in his second game back from a lower-body injury, scored the game-winner late in the second, a power-play tally. The star hit the post on a one-timer, then followed his rebound to put it in—but only barely. The play caused some momentary confusion, before officials called it a good goal. Washington responded with a challenge that there was goalie interference, but the goal was still deemed good and the Pens took a 2-1 lead.
Continuing with his hot streak, Guentzel scored an empty-netter with under a minute left to seal the game, his 10th goal of the postseason. Matt Murray made 20 saves in the win.
Like most of the series, it was evenly played, so it’s fitting the series is tied up at two games. Game 5 is Saturday night in Washington.
PREDATORS 2, JETS 1
After a dispiriting Game 3 loss, Nashville dominated play in Winnipeg, beating the Jets 2-1 and evening the series at two games apiece. Thursday was the loss the Jets saw at home since Feb. 27.
Ryan Hartman started the scoring late in the first period, corralling a loose puck in front for the unassisted goal.
In the second period, with the Preds on the power play after a Dustin Byfuglien slashing call, P.K. Subban crushed a slapshot past Connor Hellebuyck for the 2-0 lead. The Jets wouldn’t score in the period, making it the first time they’ve been held scoreless through two periods in the playoffs.
There was a Winnipeg flury towards the end of the third, and on a power play with less than a minute left, a rifle from Patrik Laine made the score 2-1. Pekka Rinne was phenomenal, making 32 saves.
What a fun series this has been. Seven games, anyone? Game 5 is Saturday night back in Nashville.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
It took both a review and a challenge from the Capitals, but Malkin juuust got the puck over the line before Holtby could sweep it out in the game-winning goal:
- Pekka Rinne, NSH — Rinne was nearly perfect, making 32 saves and withstanding a late Winnipeg attack to help the Preds even the series.
- Jake Guentzel, PIT — Guentzel scored twice, adding to his playoff-leading 10 goals. He leads the league this postseason with 21 points, and has an eight-game point streak.
- Ryan Hartman, NSH — Hartman scored the first goal of the game, and then blocked a sure Winnipeg goal with six minutes left.
Friday night’s action starts with Tampa Bay in Boston. Tampa has a 2-1 series lead after winning two straight. A 3-1 lead could prove insurmountable.
San Jose heads to Vegas in the late game. It’s been a sandwich-type series. Vegas dominated the first game, San Jose dominated the fourth, all packed in between two tightly played overtime games. An even series, Game 5 could break things either way.