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Capitals beat Blue Jackets in Game 6 to advance to 2nd round

25 April, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Ted Wilson
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The post-lockout era has been rife with post-season disappointment for Washington, who have repeatedly fielded strong teams with incredible potential only to come oh-so-close to getting over the playoff hump before crashing down to earth.

Jokes aside, it will be the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals yet again. But his confidence was misplaced as Washington connected six times on 28 shots to win the game 6-3.

"I can't wait", Ovechkin told reporters after the game.

Devante Smith-Pelly provided the eventual game-winner with an unassisted goal before Chandler Stephenson's short-handed tally put Washington ahead 5-2 with 14 1/2 minutes to play. But the headline-grabber wasn't Ovechkin. It ain't easy being a ref - or a Blue Jackets fan, apparently. "It nearly gets us going, too, and makes you want to quiet them down". His performance had shifted the offensive tide. The 23-year-old may have earned two shutouts against the Flyers, but he also allowed more than three goals in two of the games and was almost pulled in Game 6. The Capitals won each of the three games in Columbus.

Game 7 is Wednesday in Boston, with the victor taking on Tampa Bay in the next round.

The thing is, it's not all that uncommon for Ovechkin to produce when crunch time comes around in a series. He had a few nice games early in the series, but allowed at least three goals in every game and finished with a.900 save percentage which, unfortunately, is slightly better than his previous career playoff save percentage. Matt Calvert led the team with three goals. The Penguins have won nine of those series, four of them in seven games. At some point the two-time Vezina victor has to step up in a playoff setting.

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The Capitals will have home ice again for this edition of the postseason rivalry. And it sure seemed as though the Game 4 loss did exactly that. But in the final three games, he laid a goose egg.

It could also be advisable to play Joonas Korpisalo more next season so that Bobrovsky is better rested for the playoffs. Malkin has five points in five games to go with 15 shots and the fact Kessel scored just once in the opening round series only means he's due for more. What a difference a week - and a goaltender change - makes, huh?

While the number of shot attempts and scoring chances were pretty evenly matched at 5-on-5, the quality of those chances weren't. The Capitals' man-advantage ranked seventh in the National Hockey League during the regular season, with their penalty kill ranking 15th.

This is old hat for Holtby, of course, and maybe this was an instance where history shouldn't have been ignored. The Capitals have returned to Braden Holtby after beginning the playoffs with Philipp Grubauer.

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