wnol.info July 20 2018

Caps end Penguins' hex, win series in OT

July 20 2018, 08:32 | Van Peters

Barry Trotz says he knew all day Capitals would win

Penguins need to win or else

Alex Ovechkin had played in 1,003 regular-season games and 109 playoff games without advancing beyond the Eastern Conference semifinals.

This was a flawless chance to score: In overtime. There were plenty of sloppy moments, surprisingly tepid stretches, and Washington ended up scoring the majority of the big goals (aside from that freakish Penguins win in Game 1).

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the game-winning goal, helping the Washington Capitals eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Washington and Pittsburgh each traded blows during even-strength despite the Penguins being carried by their top line for nearly every game.

This has been the mindset of a Capitals team that showed more fortitude than it had in previous postseasons. "That's the only one word I have for him". All of the credit should go to the Capitals.

The Capitals captured the series, 4 games to 2, with a 2-1 overtime victory Tuesday night.

Washington spent the series saying its forgettable playoff history littered with squandered leads and blown opportunities - particularly against the Penguins - is not a factor.

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The Capitals played a systemic game, crowding Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin and allowing the Penguins few scoring chances, if any. The top line carried the even-strength scoring, and the bottom six forwards provided little in the way of offense.

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.

"I can tell you there's not a player, a coach, a trainer, ownership, (general manager) who is not trying to do everything they can to win this series", Trotz said. Intercepting those passes when the Penguins overpassed looking for a shot.

"We don't feel that much pressure", said Caps defenseman and former Penguin Brooks Orpik.

"When you get that far, that's one post. He's a competitor. He's a real good person that loves this team and he battles". "Pretty sure lots of expectations of ... nobody wants to believe in us this year". "If we had lost tonight, that's all we would have heard for the next 48 hours".

"I think their D corps is strong and they moved the puck".

Capitals coach Barry Trotz talked about ending the playoff suffering and cleaning the skeletons out of the closet but claimed supreme confidence after Kuhnhackl's shot missed the net. At times, it looked like the Penguins from 2010-2015. Add in special teams play - five power-play goals and one goal scored shorthanded in the series against Boston - and it is clear Tampa Bay is going to be a tough out this time around.

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