Capitals oust Penguins in overtime thriller

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Evgeny Kuznetsov scored an overtime winner as the Washington Capitals knocked reigning Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh out of the NHL playoffs on Monday to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Kuznetsov's overtime strike sealed a dramatic 2-1 win for the Caps as the Penguins bowed out before their home fans at the PPG Paints Arena.

The win handed Washington a 4-2 series win and sees them advance to a showdown against the Tampa Bay Lightning for a place in the Stanley Cup finals.

After a scoreless first period on Monday, Washington took the lead through Alex Chiasson early in the second.

Kris Letang levelled for Pittsburgh with a long-range effort which deflected off a stick and past Braden Holtby.

After a nerve-wracking third period which saw both sides fail to break the deadlock, the game went to overtime.

The decisive moment came at 5:27 when the Penguins coughed up possession cheaply to leave the Caps with a breakaway.

Alex Ovechkin slipped the puck to Kuznetsov, who darted through the Penguins defence before beating goaltender Matt Murray with a clinical finish.