The Capitals rallied to win four straight games after losing the first two at home to the Blue Jackets, both in overtime. Just after officials elected to look the other way on a blatant trip of Caps defenseman Christian Djoos behind the Washington net, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored from the slot, making it a 3-2 game at 2:25 of the third. The Penguins won in seven games in 2009 and 2017 and in six games in 2016. Last year, the Pens shut out the Capitals in Game 7.
The Round 2 schedule has not yet been released. "It's going to be a huge series for us".
Washington coach Barry Trotz didn't want to talk about Pittsburgh yet.
Seventy-three seconds later, Ovechkin blasted a one-timer from the left faceoff circle to give Washington its first two-goal lead of the night. They also trailed 1-0 early in the second period Monday.
"Please let me breathe", he said. "It seems like we nearly like it when an opposing team's crowd gets into it". He collected a loose puck in Washington ice, skated up the left wing wall and into Columbus territory, and sent a laser of a shot over Bobrovsky's glove hand to restore the Caps' two-goal lead, 4-2 at 3:56.
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The Caps' captain scored the 50th and 51st playoff goals of his career in the middle frame to put the visitors in command, 3-1.
Pittsburgh leads the Caps in the overall playoff game record, 38-24, and they've met for 10 series in the postseason, dating back to 1990-91.
With a chance to eliminate the Blue Jackets with a win, the Capitals found themselves tied 1-1 midway through the second period. The second came in a much more familiar fashion: on the power play from the Ovi Office.
Devante Smith-Pelly celebrates after scoring a goal in the third period as the Capitals advanced with a 6-3 win over Columbus. Washington again kept the Blue Jackets' best player Artemi Panarin off the score sheet after he had two goals and five assists in the first three playoff games.
But to suggest, as some of his critics do, that Ovechkin does not care or that he can't be bothered with the Stanley Cup Playoffs is hogwash.