PITTSBURGH -- The story of the only NHL playoff game on the schedule Monday might have belonged solely to Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, about how he rebounded from some tough games this postseason to score in overtime to give the Capitals a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
His goal gave the Capitals life after the Penguins won the first two games.
However, an injury to Pittsburgh star center Sidney Crosby in the first period no doubt reverberated beyond PPG Paints Arena and throughout the hockey world.
Even Washington coach Barry Trotz recognized the impact of the potential loss of Crosby for upcoming games because of an injury that was not specified.
"Obviously, he's one of the best players in the world," Trotz said. "He's a fantastic player, and it's a big hole, no question, for them, but they have a lot of resolve."
That resolve surfaced when the Penguins scored twice in the final two minutes of regulation to tie it, on goals by Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz. The Capitals took a 2-0 lead on goals from Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Shattenkirk scored a power-play goal on a blast from the center point at 3:13 of overtime to render Pittsburgh's comeback null and keep his club from falling into an 0-3 hole in the series.
"Tonight was a great test for all of us. There were a lot of different moments in the game where we had to see what we were made of," said Shattenkirk, whose plus-minus of minus-7 entering the game had him answering a lot of questions.
"For me, it was a shift-by-shift process. Obviously, I feel a lot different than ... 12 hours ago, but I've got to make sure I carry this into next game.
"We came here to win two games, and next game is going to be even tougher."
Game 4 is Wednesday, also in Pittsburgh.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who was pulled in Game 2, stopped 28 of 30 Pittsburgh shots.
"I thought he was great," Trotz said of Holtby. "I thought he had some really good looks. A couple of scrambles around the goal mouth, he was moving around. He was seeing the puck."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves.
Crosby, who earlier in the evening was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, got hurt at 5:24 of the first period when the game was scoreless. He was part of a two-on-one break and took a hit from Alex Ovechkin's stick to the top of the head in front of the Washington net.
An off-balance Crosby then moved to his right, and Matt Niskanen delivered a two-handed hit up high. Crosby's left leg bent awkwardly as he crumbled to the ice, but it was unclear whether the problem was with the leg, his head, both, or something else. Coach Mike Sullivan declined to offer any information, or an opinion on the hit.
Crosby remained down on the ice for several minutes before slowly skating off and going to the locker room. He did not return. He has four goals and 11 points this postseason.
Crosby has a history of concussions, including one that caused him to miss the first six games of the regular season. Most notably, he missed half of 2010-11 and most of the following season because of head injuries.
"If he can't go (in Game 4), we'll have to figure out a way to fill that void somehow," Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole said. "It's a big void, but we'll have to figure out a way to do it."
Niskanen got a five-minute cross-checking major penalty and was ejected with a game misconduct penalty.
"It wasn't intentional," Niskanen said. "I've seen the replay in super slow-mo. It looks really bad. I caught him high. I think he's coming across, trying to score. As he's doing that he's getting lower and lower, and when it's happening that fast, my stick and his head collided. I wasn't extending, trying to hit him in the head. It happened quickly."
Pittsburgh winger Chris Kunitz, however, seemed to believe the NHL might consider supplemental discipline to Niskanen, an ex-Penguin.
"I like 'Nisky' as a person," Kunitz said. "I don't think it's a very nice hit. I don't think it's something this league is looking for, especially against someone that means so much to our team. It's tough to go through, but we have to go through and see how he is."
Winger Conor Sheary, who was Crosby's linemate for much of the season, also left the game. He was hurt in a collision with teammate Patric Hornqvist at 2:24 of the second.
Washington took a 1-0 lead at 13:05 of the first period when Backstrom's shot hit Cole and flipped over Fleury from close range during a Capitals power play.
The Penguins thought they tied it at 1:05 of the second when the puck caromed in off of Kunitz's skate as he was spinning and falling through the crease. The play survived an initial review, but Washington then successfully challenged that Kunitz interfered with Holtby.
Kuznetsov made it 2-0 at 9:46 of the third. Stationed beyond the right post, he stalled and then lifted the puck over Fleury.
With Fleury pulled for an extra attacker, Malkin scored with 1:53 left in regulation. Schultz's blast went in off Washington's T.J. Oshie with 1:05 remaining to tie it.
"We let them back in the game," Backstrom said. "They scored two quick ones. They're a dangerous team. The last five minutes they were forcing it pretty good.
"It was pretty strong by us that we kept going in overtime. We drew a penalty, and then we were able to capitalize."
NOTES: Washington D Karl Alzner returned after missing six games because of an upper-body injury. The Capitals dressed seven defensemen, with C Paul Carey coming out of the lineup. ... Pittsburgh D Brian Dumoulin and LW Carl Hagelin did not participate in a non-optional morning skate but were in the lineup. ... Penguins RW Patric Hornqvist, D Ron Hainsey and RW Tom Kuhnhackl, who each left Game 2 with undisclosed injuries, played.