This series is just getting started and it has already largely delivered on expectations.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals now find themselves tied at two games a piece after the Penguins managed to secure a victory by a score of 2 - 1 on Thursday night, and that's great news for hockey fans who have been loving every second of this series so far. It has delivered on every level providing exciting offensive players, incredible saves, but most of all it has delivered on the bad blood that fans expected to see between these two long time rivals in this series.
We've seen plenty of physical play in this series already and in fact that physical play has even led to a three game suspension for Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, but that hasn't deterred the players who remain in the series from going after one another. The latest example of the bad blood between these two teams came on Thursday night with less than a minute remaining on the game clock for the game's third and final period.
Penguins veteran defenseman Kris Letang was making a play in his own zone while the Capitals were pulling goaltender Braden Hotlby , and while Letang did manage to get the puck away he also paid for it courtesy of a big hit from Capitals forward T.J. Oshie. Letang was noticably upset after the hit and in this particular instance it seemed he had some justification for his anger as Oshie's hit was less than textbook. The Capitals forward clearly attempted to launch himself at Letang in the corner, and left his feet long before contact was ever made, perhaps an attempt from Oshie to send a message before Game 5.
Letang however was not about to be pushed around and he got right up into the face of Oshie, and in fact effectively blocked him from skating back up the ice and making a play to help his teammates. Meanwhile, as Oshie and Letang gave one another a piece of their minds, Letang's outlet pass resulted in an empty net goal for Penguins forward Jake Guentzel, a dagger in the heart of the Capitals that effectively put an end to Game 4. Oshie and Letang were not done however.
With roughly 50 seconds left on the game clock Letang and Oshie decided to drop the gloves shortly after the goal horn sounded, and it was a short but rather violent affair between the two men. Whether it was because he genuinely stunned Letang with a punch that the Penguins defenseman never saw coming or perhaps because of the fact that Letang was in a bad position and may have been off balance, Oshie dropped the Penguins blue liner with a single punch to the side of the head.
Despite his seemingly quick victory Oshie hadn't had enough however and he followed Letang down to the ice where continued to rain down punches on his head, that is until the National Hockey League's officials finally stepped in. Letang didn't look too worse for wear though and seemed more interested in getting a second round in with Oshie, but of course the officials were having none of it.
Perhaps we will see more of these two going head to head in Game 5.