Next, The Penguins (Again)
The Washington Capitals have not exactly been known for clutch performances in the playoffs. Maybe, just maybe, Monday night’s victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets can start a turnaround.
With Alex Ovechkin scoring twice in the second period, the Capitals eliminated the Jackets in six games by beating them 6-3 in Columbus. The remarkable part of it, the turnaround part of it, is that they had lost the first two games of this first-round series at home … in overtime … blowing leads in both games.
“It feels good to move on to the next round,” said Chandler Stevenson, who also scored for the Caps.
As well it should. The Capitals, of all teams, are now the first in NHL history to win a series after losing the first two games in OT at home.
And they also did it with a change of goaltenders after those first two games and playing particularly well in man-up and man-down situations. They scored on the power play in each of the six games and killed 17 straight penalties.
And now they draw the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third straight year. The Penguins have won the Stanley Cup the last two seasons and went through the Caps both times to do it.
The Caps again will have the home-ice advantage (or disadvantage) for the first two games. The Penguins come in off a six-game series win against the Philadelphia Flyers.
While the Penguins have won the last two Stanley Cups and three overall, the Caps haven’t even been to the finals since the 1997-98 season and have never won the Cup.
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