Two players on the Pittsburgh Penguins found redemption in tonight's 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3, an overtime powder keg that added to the growing legend of this series.
The first is obvious: Evgeni Malkin(notes), who decided to play like Evgeni Malkin again in front of his (adorable, in that Eastern European grandmother who pinches your cheeks sort of way) parents. Going strong to the net, making the right decisions, weaving through Capitals defensemen like Alexander Ovechkin(notes) weaves through traffic while doing 150 on a D.C. highway ... it would have been a marvelous performance even without the clutch goal, courtesy of an eclipse of a screen by Bill Guerin(notes) in the third.
In a way, Sidney Crosby(notes) was wrong when he said, "If [Malkin] puts one in [Monday], no one's talking about him." Malkin put one in; there isn't anyone who watched this game that isn't talking about him and his 29:38 of ice time.
The second redemption was Kris Letang(notes), who nearly missed the game with an injury and then proceeded to miss every opportunity presented to him offensively. Sometimes he couldn't find the handle and other times he just hesitated on his chances. That's all wiped away -- as was that awful misplay by Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) on the Caps' first goal --- after Letang's sixth shot of the game deflected off of Shaone Morrisonn(notes) and past Simeon Varlamov(notes) for the win.
In the end, it was down to Varlamov (39 saves) vs. waves of Penguins attackers. The kid played outstanding again. The Penguins have life ... but neither team can claim to have the momentum heading into Game 4.
So we've got ourselves a series again in Pittsburgh; and the Boston Bruins are finding out why the Carolina Hurricanes are starting to become the unsung story of these playoffs.
They were lucky to get to the overtime, as Carolina had the advantage in shots (41-23, yikes) and quality chances. Phil Kessel(notes) turned the puck over for Sergei Samsonov's(notes) goal. Eric Staal(notes) forced a turnover for his goal. And the Canes hustled around the Bruins for Jussi Jokinen's(notes) game-winning goal at 2:48 of overtime for the 3-2 victory.
All due respect to Cam Ward(notes), who was brilliant again in stopping 21 shots, but Staal is like Getzlaf East right now. He's been the best player in ths series.
His line is dominating and he now has seven goals in the postseason, tying Ovechkin for second behind Crosby. The Hurricanes rolled four lines, Erik Cole(notes) was all over the ice, the defensemen held serve in their end and jumped in on offense ... so many good signs for Carolina in this one.
Boston, meanwhile, is still oh-for-the-series on the power play, failing once and getting another nullified by a penalty. It's the second straight game hockey's blue-collar heroes were outworked by the boys from Raleigh. That's flat out disturbing if you're a Bruins fan.