Injury-riddled Penguins put Capitals on brink of elimination

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If the Pittsburgh Penguins were seeking revenge against the Washington Capitals for the injury to Sidney Crosby, they achieved it on the score board Wednesday.

The Penguins entered Game 4 against their rivals without Crosby and Conor Sheary, and have been without Kris Letang and Matt Murray for the entirety of the post-season. Yet Pittsburgh has the 2017 Presidents’ Trophy winners on the ropes — again — after holding on for a 3-2 victory.

The Penguins can end the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Final with a win Saturday in Washington.

For the Capitals, they are once again on the verge of getting eliminated by the Penguins in the second round.

On Wednesday, they failed to take advantage of an injury-riddled Penguins team in the first period, encountered some bad luck on Dmitry Orlov‘s own-goal in the second, and then couldn’t find the equalizer in the third against Marc-Andre Fleury, who continues to provide solid goaltending for Pittsburgh in the absence of Murray.

The Penguins were outshot 38-19. Immediately after scoring their second goal, taking a 2-0 lead, they were dominated by the Capitals in puck possession, meaning Fleury was heavily relied upon in the second half of this game.

He was busy, but his best saves came against Lars Eller in front of the net in the third period, throwing down the right pad to make not one but two stops to deny Eller a goal.

It’s a good bet the Capitals won’t be pleased with the officiating at the end of the game, after T.J. Oshie was called for high sticking Nick Bonino.

Oshie’s stick caught Bonino on the shoulder. The Penguins forward snapped his head back and grabbed his mouth, drawing the penalty at a time when Washington was looking to pull the goalie for an extra attacker.