Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins Series Review
09 May, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Suzanne Horton
And he was proved correct.
Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov left the Penguins and sold-out PPG Paints Arena speechless, scoring on a breakaway at 5 minutes, 27 seconds of overtime for a 2-1 victory to clinch the best-of-seven series, four games to two.
That type of confidence was needed for Washington to overcome their struggles against Pittsburgh in the past. The Lightning finished the season as the Eastern Conference's best team, and Washington hasn't played Tampa Bay since some marquee trade-deadline additions strengthened an already-deep roster. All Washington has to do to produce a cathartic breakthrough is hand the Penguins their first series loss in 37 months. "We're going to Tampa Bay!"
Washington had to play without Nicklas Backstrom, one of its top offensive threats, due to an upper-body injury.
Pushing that number to 18-5 would send the series back to Washington and force the Capitals try to explain - again - how this time will be different. Ever. The Jets put themselves in position when they stunned Nashville by scoring four goals in the second period against Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne during a 6-2 romp in "Smashville" in Game 5, sending them home for Game 6 with a chance to wrap up the series.
This marks the first time that the Capitals have made it out of the second round in the Ovechkin era, and the first time a D.C. sports team has made it to a conference final since the Caps did it in 1998.
The Penguins, by contrast, have been impossible to finish off since head coach Mike Sullivan took over in December 2015. When Washington advanced to the second round with a Game-6 win in Columbus, Ovechkin immediately expressed his excitement about playing the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. "We look forward", Ovechkin said Monday morning.
The stakes led to an unusually slow start for both before the Capitals broke through 2:13 into the second when Walker held off Pittsburgh's Derick Brassard behind the Pittsburgh net and fed Chiasson in the right circle. Penguins goaltender Matt Murray stopped 28 of 30 shots on goal.
The deficit hardly appeared to stoke the Penguins. "And they did a good job of not allowing us to get inside". He reshuffled the lines - putting Patric Hornqvist alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin alongside Phil Kessel - and the energy shifted immediately. Crosby had eight points including three goals and five assists. "Make the playoffs. First round".
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