Capitals Oust Penguins In Overtime Thriller

Sherman Parsons
May 9, 2018

Ovechkin & Co. won't exactly get eased into their maiden voyage in the third round, as the Tampa Bay Lightning stand as a fresh, formidable opponent. They will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, who beat the Boston Bruins in a five-game semifinal series.

The Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for only the third time since the franchise's inception in 1974.

Kuznetsov's overtime strike sealed a dramatic 2-1 win for the Caps as the 2017 and 2016 champion Penguins bowed out before their home fans at the PPG Paints Arena.

"I can not wait to go in the next game and get ready for Tampa", Ovechkin said. "More is a Stanley Cup", goaltender Braden Holtby said.

We'll find out after the game's conclusion what the Penguins players thought of the wild, but heartfelt, show of support from their crosstown brethren, but it was clear that, if nothing else, the Steelers were getting the crowd fired up.

The fourth-line left wing hadn't scored a point in the Stanley Cup playoffs, as secondary scoring served as startling statistic that shadowed the Penguins forwards. It wasn't his best playoffs but he was over.930 in three of the six games in this series.

That doesn't mean that they just rolled over and gave Game 6 up, mind you. They faced elimination in the first round against Anaheim in 2016 but came back to advance, triumphing in the crucible of Game 7 for the first time in franchise history in the process. In the end, Washington got better goaltending than Pittsburgh and that made a huge difference. All the teams are really good. Pittsburgh's power play wasn't as sharp as it usually is and that can happen in a playoff series.

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However, the momentum swung in the way of the home team when the Swans conceded a sloppy free-kick right on the edge of their box. The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, Southampton playing with more urgency and creating more chances.

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That the breaks went against the Capitals so often in this rivalry had started to wear on their room. Instead they continued to plod along, staying only one goal behind thanks in large part to the play of Murray. Intercepting those passes when the Penguins overpassed looking for a shot. But a talented cast overcame the three-game suspension of winger Tom Wilson, the upper-body injury to center Nicklas Backstrom and a rookie-laden lineup to hand the Penguins their first playoff defeat in 10 series. At times, it looked like the Penguins from 2010-2015. Crosby patted Ovechkin in the chest several times as to say well done. He assisted on Kuznetsov's goal in Game 6, springing his linemate for the breakaway tally. He did all of that while going up against the Penguins top pair in Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin.

Ovechkin has 15 points in 12 games for the Capitals.

The games in the series were mostly even throughout.

There will be no Game 7 against the Capitals, the Metropolitan Division rivals whom the Penguins had beaten in the second round on the way to the Cup in 2009, '16 and again past year.

Seated in a box with Ben Roethlisberger, David DeCastro, and JuJu Smith-Schuster among others and the game tied at 1-1 late in the second period, Villanueva felt the time was right to strip off his Penguins jersey and douse himself with beer. They played with fire and got burned and as such the Caps are moving on to the finals.

Washington was able to take advantage of the Penguins sloppy defense in their own zone and giving up odd-man rushes.

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