Capitals square series 3-3 against Penguins

19 May, 2017, 15:54 | Author: Benny Bass

(AP Photo/Nick Wass, file).

So it was Monday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

When the Caps went down 3-1, Trotz stressed to the media that he wanted to see more joy in his team's game. The Predators will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers for the right to come out of the West. It's incredible it's taken this long to bring up this fact, but it's so well-known, so much part of the fabric, that it's just assumed as common knowledge: Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

“I dont know whether from coaching or playing whether you get into a mental block or not, ” said Bruce Boudreau, who coached in Game 7 four times with the Capitals and four times with the Ducks. Defenseman Ron Hainsey went to boards to retrieve a loose puck in the Penguins end only to get checked by Burakovsky, who skated away with the puck and stuffed a shot past Fleury 6:36 into the second. Against the Maple Leafs, he allowed 14 goals in the first four games, before giving up just two goals in the final two. The decisive Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Washington (7:30 ET, NBCSN).

The Penguins struggled to maintain any kind of pressure in the offensive zone in Game 6. “Now it boils down to one. "We just kept going. If we don't hold serve, then it's not what we're looking for".

Chris Nowinski, the co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, told USA TODAY Sports that the league has a "a poorly written policy that should be amended before the puck is dropped in another NHL game". Another stunning collapse -this one in five games- may have caused total reconstruction of the Capitals organization. I mean, I just got tripped up there going pretty fast and went into the boards pretty awkwardly. At first blush, it looks as though the league emerged from this one, but it might not be so lucky next time. But I thought our game was really, really quite good in both those Game 7s.”. Three minutes into that Game 7, superstar winger Alex Ovechkin sped down the left side, with only goalie Marc-Andre Fleury between him and an early goal that might have shifted the entire game and maybe even the destiny of these two teams.

"If the Capitals think they won an easy game Monday and because of that they'll win Game 7", he said, "I say, 'No'". Their last Game 7 victory at home came in the first round in 2009 with Boudreau behind the bench when Sergei Fedorov scored the victor to knock off the Rangers.

Concussed on May 1, Sidney Crosby returned five days later and didn't look at his best Monday after crashing headfirst into the boards.

Crosby continues to play but isn't pleased that he keeps getting questioned.

Bryan Rust led the way for the Penguins with a hat trick, including one into an empty net, while Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Matt Cullen and Justin Schultz would add their only goals of the season against Ottawa.

"We were sort of stuck in that two- and three-goal area and in a very important moment in the third period obviously in an important game, our guys delivered against him, so I think that gives us a boost of confidence".

"Since Game 3 we've had a sense of calmness about what we're doing", Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "Game 7" in his first chance with Washington.

Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Backstrom have scored 10 of the Capitals' 18 goals against the Penguins.

The NHL revamped its policies entering this season by implementing a staff of Central League Spotters, positioned in the NHL's Player Safety Room in NY, who can remove a player if he displays any symptom or sign of a concussion. Since then, it has been all Washington, perhaps not entirely unexpected given that the Capitals rolled to the Presidents' Trophy during the season. Game 6 was the rare misfire. The Caps are third from the bottom at 46.5 percent.

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