WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby spun around and saw the puck on the goal line. Maybe it was in, maybe it wasn’t.

But after mounting another two-goal lead and this time building on it instead of blowing it, the Washington Capitals made sure it wasn’t close enough for one questionable call to make a difference Sunday.

With fresh memories of coughing up that same lead in Game 1, they took it to the Pittsburgh Penguins and emerged with a 4-1 victory in Game 2 to tie the second-round series.

“You can see what happened last game when we get the lead 2-0 and they come back and win the game,” said Alex Ovechkin, who scored his seventh goal of the playoffs.

“They’re an experienced team, they’re not going to give up and they’re not going to give an easy play for us. We have to earn it. Today I think we played a solid game, everybody was in and we got the result.”

It was a result that came with controversy and a potentially significant aftermath. The Penguins came out on the wrong side of a coach’s challenge, the NHL’s video review on what would have been their second goal, and lost defenseman Brian Dumoulin after a hit to the head by Tom Wilson.

Holtby stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced to frustrate the Penguins, robbing Sidney Crosby and linemate Jake Guentzel with sliding pad saves to continue his strong play in the postseason.

The Penguins thought he should have allowed one more goal to Patric Hornqvist in the third period. No definitive replays showing the puck over the goal line and Wilson’s hit that injured Dumoulin left them steaming but also kicking themselves for starting slow and falling behind again.

“They won the game in the first period,” Hornqvist said. “I don’t think we played our best game. … They were all over us.”

After blowing three two-goal leads through the first seven games of the playoffs, Washington at least temporarily solved that problem. Ovechkin beat Matt Murray 1:26 in, Jakub Vrana scored on a power play later in the first period and, unlike Game 1, the Capitals made it 3-0 when Brett Connolly scored on a breakaway early in the second.

TAMPA BAY and Vegas were favored to win their second-round matchups.

After losses Saturday, the Lightning and Golden Knights will be happy just to reclaim home-ice advantage.

Hours after Boston beat Tampa Bay 6-2 to take a 1-0 series lead the Sharks handed Vegas its first postseason loss in six games with a 4-3 double-overtime victory.

Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper and Vegas Coach Gerard Gallant said it was their teams’ worst performances of the postseason.

“I didn’t like the game we played, that was the main thing,” Gallant said Sunday before he and the Golden Knights left for San Jose. “Not just losing in overtime, but I didn’t like the game that we played the first 40 minutes.”

And while the Lightning enjoyed six days off after eliminating New Jersey in five games, it was Boston that looked sharper after winning an emotional Game 7 at home against Toronto three nights prior.

Cooper put the Lightning through an intense, high-tempo practice Sunday in hopes of setting the tone for a more spirited performance in Game 2.

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