PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins found a way to survive without injured star Sidney Crosby.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 shots and rookie Jake Guentzel took advantage of a fortunate bounce for his playoff-leading eighth goal and the defending Stanley Cup champions held off the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Justin Schultz scored in a second straight game and Patric Hornqvist picked up his third goal of the postseason as Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead in the series.

The Penguins played without Crosby, who is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in Game 3.

Pittsburgh has a chance to eliminate the Capitals in Game 5 on Saturday in Washington.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt scored for the Capitals. Braden Holtby finished with 15 saves, but Washington failed to even the series despite controlling play for long stretches.

Matt Niskanen’s shot to Crosby’s jaw early in Game 3 left Crosby concussed and his immediate future uncertain. It also forced his team to figure out a way to survive without one of the game’s most brilliant catalysts while simultaneously trying to reign in their anger at what they considered a dirty hit.

Fleury stressed the Penguins didn’t need to focus on retribution, though Washington prepared for it.

Capitals center Jay Beagle believed things could get “nasty” as the series went on.

Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel countered that Beagle’s assertion that Niskanen’s shot was “clean” made Beagle “an idiot.” Beagle suggested the two work out their differences over video games.

It didn’t happen. At least not on Wednesday.

Save for a scrap in the second period that amounted to little more than an extended wrestling match between Chris Kunitz and Tom Wilson – who made a run at Kunitz but missed – things stayed relatively tame. It played out similar to Pittsburgh’s victories in Washington to open the series. The Capitals would get extended pressure on Fleury only to be stopped while the Penguins expertly counterattacked.


KINGS: The team signed 25-year-old Swedish defenseman Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, entry-level contract.