Washington Capitals win, force Game 7 against Pittsburgh Penguins

By Shelly Anderson, The Sports Xchange
The Washington Capitals dominated the Penguins in Pittsburgh to force a Game 7 in their Stanley Cup playoff series. Photo courtesy Washington Capitals/Twitter
The Washington Capitals dominated the Penguins in Pittsburgh to force a Game 7 in their Stanley Cup playoff series. Photo courtesy Washington Capitals/Twitter

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Capitals avoided elimination Monday night with a 5-2 pasting of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at PPG Paints Arena.

A deciding Game 7 will be played Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, with the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins going against this season's Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals. The winner advances to the Eastern Conference final to face the New York Rangers or Ottawa. The Senators lead that series 3-2 going into Game 6 on Tuesday.


Pittsburgh led their series 3-1 and missed a second straight chance to close out the Capitals.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom each had a goal and an assist, and John Carlson also scored for Washington.

Evgeny Kuznetsov added two assists as the Capitals broke open the game with three third-period goals to take a 5-0 lead. Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin scored in the final four minutes.


Braden Holtby made 16 saves for the Capitals. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was busier, stopping 21 of 26 Washington shots.

The Penguins' first shot on goal didn't come until 12:17 of the first period, and even then it was a long clear by penalty-killer Brian Dumoulin.

Washington got the only goal of the first on the same power play. Backstrom, along the right wall, started a bang-bang play by passing to Kuznetsov below the extended goal line. Kuznetsov quickly set up Oshie from the slot for a 1-0 lead at 12:41.

The Capitals led in shots 11-3 by the end of the first.

Fleury kept Pittsburgh in the game with several strong saves, including one he smothered from Alex Ovechkin in the left circle during a power play, a reaching glove save on Carlson and a pad save on Lars Eller from the slot.

Pittsburgh had a couple of scary moments in the first. Sidney Crosby, in his second game back from a concussion, got a bloody nose from a teammate's stick during a puck battle along the boards, and later got tossed head-first in the boards behind the Washington net by Carlson during a Penguins power play. On the same power play, Patric Hornqvist got a bloody mouth from a stick on a shot attempt. Crosby was slow to get up and Hornqvist had to retreat quickly to the bench, but both remained in the game.


Washington took a 2-0 lead at 6:36 of the second. Burakovsky forced a turnover by Penguins defenseman Ron Hainsey, moved to the right post and flipped the puck in off of Fleury.

Just 16 seconds into the third, Backstrom kept the puck on a two-on-one -- Washington's fifth odd-man rush -- and beat Fleury for a 3-0 lead.

Carlson added a power-play goal on a one-timer from above the left circle to make it 4-0 at 11:17 of the third, and Burakovsky roofed a shot past Fleury at 12:29 for a 5-0 advantage.

NOTES: Pittsburgh D Trevor Daley, who left Game 5 in the third period, did not play because of a lower-body injury. He was replaced in the lineup by D Chad Ruhwedel, who made his NHL playoff debut. ... The Penguins reconfigured their lines, reuniting the HBK line of LW Carl Hagelin, C Nick Bonino and RW Phil Kessel that was highly effective last year in the playoffs. ... C Sidney Crosby's assist on LW Jake Guentzel's third-period goal was his 97th in postseason play, moving him past Hall of Fame C Mario Lemieux for the Pittsburgh record. ... Washington is 3-3 at home this postseason; Pittsburgh is 3-2 on the road.


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