WASHINGTON -- Nick Bonino scored the go-ahead goal with 7:24 remaining, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots, and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Thursday night to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Defenseman Justin Schultz started the winning play when he fired a long pass up the left side to Scott Wilson. Wilson crossed the blue line and then fed a streaking Bonino, who was ahead of the defense and beat goalie Braden Holtby with a wrist shot off his blocker.
Bonino's second goal of the playoffs came just 4:31 after the Capitals tied the score.
Fleury then withstood a barrage of shots in the final minutes to hold the lead.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Washington.
Sidney Crosby scored two goals 52 seconds apart to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Patric Hornqvist assisted on both. Crosby now has four goals and nine points in six playoff games.
Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth goal of these playoffs to cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the second period, and Washington tied it at 8:05 of the third. After a scramble in front, Matt Niskanen gained control of the puck on the right-wing boards. He skated away from the fray, and then made a perfect pass across the slot to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who one-timed the puck into a wide-open net.
Holtby made 18 saves.
The best save of a scoreless first period belonged to Pittsburgh center Jake Guentzel. After Fleury made a save, the rebound went to T.J. Oshie, who appeared to have a big opening. Guentzel, who was in the crease, made a kick save while falling into the net and Fleury was able to cover the puck just in front of the goal line.
Once the second period started, it took only 64 seconds for Crosby to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Just after the opening faceoff, Niskanen got caught up ice and the Penguins came in two-on-one. Guentzel passed across ice from the left circle and Crosby's one-timer from the right circle beat the sliding Holtby.
After the faceoff, Holtby made a save on Olli Maatta's shot from the point. The rebound went to Hornqvist in front and he slid a short pass to a driving Crosby, who fired past Holtby at 1:04 of the period.
Things could have gotten worse for Washington minutes later, but Holtby stopped Phil Kessel on a breakaway.
Ovechkin pulled the Capitals within 2-1 when he a took pass from Lars Eller just inside the blue line, skated to the top of the circle and fired a short-side wrister over Fleury's shoulder with 1:43 left in the period.
NOTES: Penguins C Sidney Crosby now has 10 goals and seven assists in 14 playoff games vs. Washington. ... Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin now has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 14 playoff games against Pittsburgh. ... Each of Washington's seven playoff games has been decided by one goal. ... Pittsburgh LW Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) took limited contact in the morning skate and remains day-to-day. F Chris Kunitz (lower body) returned after missing 10 games including the regular season and playoffs. F Carter Rowney was scratched. ... D Chad Ruhwedel (upper body) remains out. ... Washington D Karl Alzner (upper body) missed his fifth consecutive game and is day-to day.