After game 3 when Sidney Crosby left the game with a concussion and the Capitals finally won in OT, the series had looked like it flipped 180 degrees. Without Crosby how were the Penguins, who were already plagued with so many other injuries, supposed to overcome the Capitals that are just a sleeping giant. Well, game 4 showed us all everything we needed to see.
The Penguins were feeding off the home crowd's energy early, they still had the lead in the series, they still had a ton of talent on the ice, and the Capitals were struggling, so not all hope was lost with the devastating Crosby injury. Pittsburgh needed to get out to a lead early and that's exactly what they did. Four minutes into the first period Hornqvist got behind the defense, received a beaut of a pass from Maata, and beat Holtby for the goal, 1-0 Pittsburgh. In the second period Jake Guentzel tried passing the puck to his teammate cutting to the net, however it was off line, but it deflected off the defensemans skate and into the net for 2-0 Pittsburgh lead. Even without Crosby it looked like Penguins were still dominating the series like they have for the entire series with the exception of game 3.
The Capitals would continue to fight. Later in the second period the Caps played the puck off the boards, Kuznetsoz would get it, and blows it past Fleury for the goal, Caps trail 2-1. Still in the second, not even a minute after the goal they had just scored, T.J. Oshie, takes a shot that misses, Schmidt gets the rebound and buries it in the back on the net to tie up the game. It was looking like game 4 was mirroring game 3, except opposite. Caps jumped out to the early 2-0 lead only to blow it within a minute, and then ultimately win the game. Well, the Penguins did just that in game 4. Jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, only to blow it within a minute, and then they ended up winning the game. With the Penguins on the power play, Malkin passed it to Justin Schultz who blasted a goal past Holtby on a one timer giving the Pens a 3-2 lead. They'd hold onto that lead for the rest of the game and now hold a 3-1 series lead.
The 3-1 series lead has been overcome plenty of times, but at this point the Capitals seem dead. Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklaus Backstrom can't be non factors like they were last night. The way Holtby has played all series is completely unacceptable and uncharacteristic. Seems like this whole Caps choking thing is in their heads a lot more than we think because they look like a completely different team in the postseason and it's not a good thing. Definitely time to slam that panic button Caps fans because it's not looking like it's your year.