WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Evgeni Malkin scored an overtime power-play goal to help Pittsburgh beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, moving the Penguins within one win of claiming their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series.
The victory was the third in a row for the Penguins and the first on visiting ice in the series. The Pens lead the series 3-2 with game six on Monday in Pittsburgh.
In the West, the visiting Chicago Blackhawks notched a pair of third-period goals to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 and take a 3-2 series lead.
Pittsburgh’s Malkin got the winner 3:28 into overtime when his backhander deflected off Washington defenseman Tom Poti and through the legs of Capitals netminder Simeon Varlamov.
“He was at the end of a two-minute shift, and he still had enough juice to drive to the net,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told reporters.
“He certainly got a favorable bounce, but it doesn’t happen if he’s not moving his feet and driving to the net. He’s a beast when he does that, and we got a good result.”
Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist for the Capitals, including a third-period score that brought on overtime.
“We played good, but it’s not good enough,” Ovechkin said. “The next game is going to be different. It’s not over yet.”
The loss dropped the Capitals to 0-8 in game fives against the Penguins, who came back from 0-2 deficits to win series against Washington in 1992 and 1996.
“I thought it was our best game of the series,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We had as many chances as they did.”
Pittsburgh opened the scoring on a second-period goal from Jordan Staal before Ovechkin then Nicklas Backstrom swung the lead back to Washington.
Pittsburgh struck back with two goals in the first seven minutes of the third period, Ruslan Fedotenko scoring off a Malkin assist in the opening minute and Matt Cooke making it 3-2 with his goal after 6:27.
In Vancouver, Dave Bolland’s power-play goal for the Blackhawks broke a 2-2 tie with 5:05 left to play. Martin Havlat added an empty-netter with just over a minute left.
Dustin Byfuglien scored Chicago’s first two goals, while Ryan Kesler and Mats Sundin tallied for Vancouver.
The Blackhawks can wrap up the series with a win in Chicago on Monday.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom and Peter Rutherford