Capitals Achieve Playoff Breakthrough & Raptors Can’t Get Past Cavaliers

NHL And NBA Playoffs Continue Despite everything the Washington Capitals had done in the regular season, they were best known for their early and disappointing departures from the NHL...

NHL And NBA Playoffs Continue

Despite everything the Washington Capitals had done in the regular season, they were best known for their early and disappointing departures from the NHL playoffs, including the last two seasons when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Stanley Cup both times.

But when Evgeny Kuznetsov took a pass from Alex Ovechkin to score 5:27 into overtime in Monday night’s Game 6, the Caps had beaten their nemesis and reached the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 20 years and (obviously) the first in Ovechkin’s tenure 13-year tenure. The Caps previously were 0-6 when within one game of the conference finals and had lost nine of their last 10 playoff series against the Penguins dating to 1991.

Ovechkin said his first thought after Kuznetsov’s goal was: “Thank God this happened.”

The Toronto Raptors are probably thinking the exact opposite after being eliminated again from the NBA playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs blew them out 128-93 on Monday night to eliminate them for the third straight season and the second in a row in a four-game sweep. The Raptors have lost 10 consecutive playoff games to the Cavs. LeBron James scored 29 points to lead the rout and knock out the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.

“For whatever reason, we got the unlucky draw every year, going against him,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

As the Cavaliers pulled together in this series, especially after James’ stunning shot at the buzzer to win Game 3, the Raptors pulled apart. DeMar DeRozan was benched in the fourth quarter of the third game and out of the fourth quarter of Monday night’s after being ejected. Kyle Lowry scored only five points in the finale.

“The last three years have been rough for us, competing against this team,” said DeRozan. “Maybe they just got our number. Things just don’t go right for us.”

They’ve been playing that song in Washington for more than 25 years. Now it belongs to Toronto.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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