Capitals put Penguins on brink of elimination

Capitals put Penguins on brink of elimination

Pittsburgh's players have been penalized 4.0 times per game in total this season, 4.2 per game over their past five games total, and 4.2 per game over their last five road outings.

The under is 3-0-2 in the last five Penguins games following a win.

And just in case Alex Ovechkin and his teammates ever forget about their playoff missteps, they need only step in front of a camera or a microphone, where the same questions are posed year after year.

Win tonight, and all the pressure - and the frustration - is back on the Capitals.

"It's hard to quantify", Trotz said. "Our bench was calm, we knew we had to get it done and we executed it pretty well". The team's been forced to stave off opponent power plays 8.8 minutes per contest over their last five road games. "For me, it's situational a little bit more".

That should serve as all of the motivation Washington needs to reverse its curse, which is why Capitals coach Barry Trotz preferred to savor the 6-3 victory Saturday night instead of talking about the chance to clinch. Game 7, if necessary, would be in Nashville next Thursday. They are absolutely carrying Pittsburgh, but if one of them is off for just one game, the Penguins are in serious trouble.

Slowing down the Penguins offense will be the key to success for Washington.

Pittsburgh, counterpunching with flawless combinations, never seemed to lose control last season. Vrana played with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov early in the season. The Capitals simply cannot put themselves in position to be eliminated by the Penguins again, and if they can't properly motivated for this one, you can call this series over. Washington, after all, didn't have the same firepower after losing two top six forwards in the offseason. He is typically one to deliver punishing hits and help the Capitals protect a lead, but they worked from behind in the final minutes to seize control of the series.

"To me, the backbone of your team is the goaltender", Trotz said.

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This season, it's the Capitals leading breakaways and taking advantages of 2-on-1s.

Washington received goals from John Carlson and Brett Connolly in the first period, as well as Evgeny Kuznetsov in the third period, but it was the Jakub Vrana and Braden Holtby combination that played the role of hero.

Tampa Bay won two of three games against Pittsburgh.

In 2017, the Capitals had 60 percent of the shot attempts against Pittsburgh.

The Capitals are one victory from advancing to the Eastern Conference final for the first time in the Ovechkin era and overall since 1998, when they reached the Stanley Cup finals. We're just looking to get the job done and maybe after we can talk about the feelings.

Letang is averaging 24:58 this spring, but "just" 23:17 in Game 5, his fewest since Game 2 in the first round.

Penguins fans have taken great delight in watching the Capitals win the Metropolitan Division, only to lose to the Penguins in the playoffs. They were 4-1 in the playoffs with a lead after two periods and were 24-0-2 in the regular season. They blew a 3-1 lead against the New York Rangers in 2015 for a chance to get to the conference finals.

"There's a lot of belief in this room", Oshie said. We know we're going to have to play really well, but it's possible. We know what's happened to us in the past. "It's amusing: A lot of them are the same things that we've seen at different parts in the last couple series".

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