With the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs now running strong and into the final stretch, there is still uncertainty about which teams would be pushing for the third round in each respective Conference Finals; Winnipeg and Nashville are neck-and-neck, Vegas and San Jose are relative equals, and both Washington and Pittsburgh are at it again with another elongated series. With Tampa Bay sitting comfortably 3-1 over Boston, it appears the other remaining series’ may be heading for 7-games.
Game 5 between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins took play on Saturday, May 5th at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with the series split 2-2. The first period opened with goals from Pittsburgh’s Oleksiak, Washington’s Carlson and Connoly, ending with a 2-1 lead for the Capitals’ into the second
The second period saw Penguins’ Captain, Sidney Crosby, net his 9th goal of the playoffs, and Patrick Hornqvist to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead heading for the third
The third period would see an incredible four-goal route by the Capitals, as goals from Kuznetsov, Vrana, Oshie, and Eller helped propel, and eventually, extend the lead into a 6-3 score, which would end the game as the final score. Washington’s Brayden Holtby made 36-saves in the victory, and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray would make 26-saves in the loss. Capitals’ forward, Nicklas Backstrom, would leave the game at the earlier point of the third period due to an upper-body injury that would be later evaluated
The Washington Capitals have had extreme difficulty not only making it into the third round but defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the process, at least in the Ovi-Crosby era. The Capitals will now have two-opportunities to defeat their rivals and end their two-time championship defense. Only time will tell if Ovechkin and the Capitals can finally break their decade-long curse against the second round and the Penguins.
The last time the Penguins surrendered six or more goals in the Stanley Cup playoffs was against the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, which saw the Bruins advance to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game 6 will take place on Monday in Pittsburgh, and, if necessary, Game 7 will take place on Wednesday back in Washington.