Penguins star Crosby leaves following hit to head

As NBC lead analyst Ed Olczyk said after the Penguins dumped the Columbus Blue Jackets in a five-game, first-round Eastern Conference series, Pittsburgh has those "difference makers; guys who only need one or two chances to score a goal".

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his goal with Patric Hornqvist (72), of Sweden, and Jake Guentzel (59) during the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington.

The Washington Capitals face an uphill battle after suffering another defeat to reigning NHL Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Moments after the Penguins took a 3-1 lead in Game 2 against the Capitals, a stray puck showed up behind Braden Holtby's net. The Capitals took a 2-0 series lead, but the Penguins clawed their way back and eventually won the series in seven games.

Pageau scored a career-high four goals, including the victor 2:54 into the second overtime to lift the Senators to a victory over visiting NY on Saturday, giving Ottawa a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Wearing a blue baseball hat instead of a hockey mask, sitting on the Washington Capitals bench instead of guarding their net, Vezina Trophy victor Braden Holtby shook his head as his replacement settled into the crease.

"We hadn't played for a little bit, so we really wanted to establish the way we wanted to play and I thought it we did a pretty good job of that", Crosby said. "It's not flawless by any stretch out there". Overall, he doesn't look like the Holtby we've come to know through the playoffs.

"I think everybody did", Cullen said.

The Capitals have outshot the Penguins 71-44 through two games but were outscored 9-4.

Holtby stopped 18 shots, but he allowed Bonino's goal at 12:36.

After Holtby allowed three goals on 14 shots, coach Barry Trotz pulled him and inserted Philipp Grubauer to start the third period.

Senators 6, Rangers 5 • Jean-Gabriel Pageau might not have seen the goal that capped his "legendary game" for the Ottawa Senators.

"Obviously, it's never where you want to be", Holtby said. We try to execute that game plan and then we watch.

THE SERIES: Penguins lead, 2-0.

"I have a lot of confidence in him", Trotz said.

I just don't think a regression will doom this team. "It's fun to win". After surrendering three goals over 40 minutes, Holtby was on the bench for the third frame. However, as always, Washington didn't get the bounces they needed while Pittsburgh did.

Guentzel, the kid from Omaha, Nebraska, scored twice in Game 2 and has a playoff-best seven goals.

This game also saw the return of Penguins forward Carl Hagelin. The play Crosby made to go through his legs while gaining entry into the offensive zone before Kessel scored his first of two goals was the highlight-reel play, but it was his blocked shots and backchecking that coach Mike Sullivan will likely highlight.

NOTES: Grubauer finished with two goals on nine shots as Trotz said it was too early to name a Game 3 starter. He replaced Scott Wilson. The Capitals made one lineup change, inserting RW Paul Carey on the fourth line and scratching RW Brett Connolly.

  • Salvatore Jensen