09 May, 2018
Now, it will live on in D.C. sports lore after Kuznetsov flapped his wings again upon scoring the overtime victor on a breakaway against Matt Murray, joining Calle Johansson (1994) as the only Capitals players to score a playoff series-winning goal against the Penguins. "We move forward and now I can't wait for the next game and get ready for Tampa". "I've never been in this position before and I'm looking forward".
Crosby and Ovechkin each scored eight goals in the series and finished with 13 and 14 points, respectively. They will meet up with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East finals, the second meeting between these clubs in the Ovechkin era.
But after mounting another two-goal lead and this time building on it instead of blowing it, the Washington Capitals made sure it wasn't close enough for one questionable call either way to make a difference. It ended up being the Capitals as the Penguins just allowed far too many odd-man rushes at even strength. Braden Holtby stood tall during the Penguins series and posted a.921 save-percentage (SV %) and a 2.1 goals-against-average (GAA). Hornqvist had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 10 games. The past three times the two rivals have met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Pens have come out on top and went on to win the Stanley Cup. He takes a beating every time, but he's always been good in the playoffs. "I'm proud of my team, proud of my teammates".
"Just f-ing please score", Ovechkin said when asked by McGuire what was going through his head as Kuznetsov took off on the fateful breakaway. "I'm just happy right now". Washington won despite playing without injured forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky, as well as the suspended Tom Wilson. "It's a long time coming, and to get it done in the way we did in Game 6 and missing three of our top six guys, having guys step in and play the way they did, it's unbelievable to the organization". You can see everybody blocking shots, everybody play defensively.
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"We don't feel that much pressure", said Caps defenseman and former Penguin Brooks Orpik.
When Ovechkin made that postseason debut in April 2008, he was a bushy-haired 22-year-old and the third youngest player in the Washington lineup. "We beat the twice Stanley Cup champion and it gives us pretty good feeling about ourselves". That was two long months ago, and the team that celebrated in an equal parts joyous and relieved dressing room on Monday night doesn't look like the one that was still searching for its legs in mid-winter. We'll enjoy it tonight. A lot of their players didn't play their best games at a time in which Washington's best players, such as Ovechkin and Kuznetsov did.
"It's great, obviously", Beagle said. But the goal isn't to get past the second round. Our main goal is still the Stanley Cup.