There is no question that Simeon Varlamov is the real deal. He made some spectacular saves to keep the Caps alive, including two back-to-back saves on a 5 on 3 and some sick saves to keep the game at 2-1 in favor of the Penguins. This allowed Alex Ovechkin and the Caps to come back and take the lead in this Eastern Conference Semi-final game.
Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby went back-and-forth all game. Both players scored hat-tricks as David Steckel was the only other player on the ice to record a goal. Crosby started the scoring off first with a rebound goal on the powerplay as Mike Green lost position on him. Ovechkin answered back early in the second on a nice passing play entering the zone with Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov–both players had two assists in the game.
Crosby answered back after scoring on another rebound with poor coverage again in front by Green. Varlamov actually got a piece of the lay-up shot, and almost made Crosby look worse than his save in Game 1. Some more spectacular saves continued to pour out of the Caps’ young goaltender allowing Steckel to tie the game up heading into the 3rd period.
Sidney Crosby had won the battle so far, but now it was time for Ovechkin to win the war. Ovechkin scored his 2nd goal of the game on a one-timer off the faceoff during a powerplay thanks to a subdued Evgeni Malkin. A couple minutes later Ovechkin completed the hat-trick on a one-on-one shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s left shoulder. The hats poured onto the Verizon Center ice for Ovechkin’s first career playoff hat-trick.
Crosby was none too happy about the delay in the game…
“People kept throwing hats. I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. The first wave came, and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and more started coming,” Crosby said after the game. “I just wanted to make sure that we kept kind of moving, kept the game going while we tried to get back into it. Wasn’t complaining about anything.”
Well even after a little crying, Crosby was able to bat the puck out of mid-air to complete his first career playoff hat-trick as well. The goal came after a blatant cross-check to the head of Varlamov by Chris Kunitz. Here’s the video…
The NHL still hasn’t made a decision about the incident, but Coach Bruce Boudreau wants the league to take a look at it. So the main question is “will Kunitz be suspended for the crosscheck“.
In the end, Ovechkin’s hat-trick proved to be better than Crosby’s especially because one of Ovie’s goals ended up being the game winner. Hopefully, the other snipers on the Pens can stay quiet throughout the series, but one things for sure–this series is highly entertaining.
“Sick game. Sick goals by me and him,” said Ovechkin.
* Alex Ovechkin *
** Sidney Crosby **
*** Simeon Varlamov ***