PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame the absence of star center Sidney Crosby to beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a pivotal Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal on Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The victory gave the Penguins a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 5 is Saturday in Washington.
Crosby, who led the NHL with 44 goals in the regular season, missed the game after suffering a concussion early in Game 3.
Pittsburgh built a 2-0 lead on goals by Patric Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel, blew that by giving up quick-strike goals to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt, then took a 3-2 lead into the third period when Justin Schultz scored on a power play.
The Capitals dominated the third but could not beat Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He made 36 saves and became the 15th goaltender in the NHL to reach 60 career playoff wins. So far, eight of the first 14 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Washington goalie Braden Holtby stopped 15 of 18 Penguins shots.
Hornqvist gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 4:39 of the first when he split defensemen Brooks Orpik and Karl Alzner for a breakaway down the slot after taking a perfect pass from Olli Maatta. Hornqvist moved in and lifted the puck over Holtby's left pad.
The Penguins benefited from an own-goal for a 2-0 lead at 3:51 of the second. Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov was unable to corral the puck near the crease, and it caromed off his skate and past Holtby. Guentzel was credited with his playoff-leading eighth goal of the season.
The Capitals tied it 2-2 with goals 1:12 apart later in the second from Kuznetsov and Schmidt, both from the left circle. Kuznetsov's shot, at 7:21, went short side, Schmidt's far side at 8:33.
Pittsburgh regained the lead at 11:24 of the second when Schultz sailed a slap shot under the crossbar on the power play.
NOTES: With C Sidney Crosby (concussion) and RW Conor Sheary (concussion) out, LW Scott Wilson and C Carter Rowney were added to the Penguins' lineup. ... For the second game in a row, Washington dressed seven defensemen. ... Pittsburgh fans booed Capitals D Matt Niskanen every time he touched the puck. Crosby was injured in Game 3 on a cross-check by Niskanen. ... Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan tied Scotty Bowman for second in club history with 23 postseason wins.