Published: Tue, May 08, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 6 Prediction, NHL Playoff Odds

Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 6 Prediction, NHL Playoff Odds

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored an overtime victor as the Washington Capitals ended Pittsburgh's dream of a Stanley Cup hat-trick on Monday to advance to the NHL Eastern Conference finals. The area has been starved for playoff success, with no Washington, D.C., team from the "Big 4" sports leagues having reached a semifinal since the last time the Capitals made it this far. Play continued. And a few minutes later Kuznetsov's goal joined Dale Hunter's overtime Game 7 victor vs. Philadelphia in the first round in 1988 and Joe Juneau's poke by Dominik Hasek vs. Buffalo in the Eastern Conference finals in 1998 in franchise lore.

Trotz said he has felt a kinship with Alex Ovechkin, who also had never advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in his 13-year career until now. "We move forward and now I can't wait for the next game and get ready for Tampa".

"We lost lots of great players, and young guys stepping up and gave us a chance to win. I just focus on the game".

Washington had to play without Nicklas Backstrom, one of its top offensive threats, due to an upper-body injury. Twice the Capitals rallied in the third period to stun Pittsburgh, including a four-goal outburst in Game 5 that pushed them to the brink of their first Eastern Conference finals appearance in 20 years.

If you believe Barry Trotz, despite all the celebrating the Washington Capitals got to do Monday night at PPG Paints Arena, his postgame speech wouldn't be exciting TV viewing.

"To not have Nick in our lineup, you know, he's irreplaceable as a player", said goalie Braden Holtby.

The Penguins have been impossible to finish off since coach Mike Sullivan took over in December 2015.

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"They know what it takes to win", Sullivan said. That's all you can ask.

"Obviously, it feels really f-ing good", Vrana said.

Since he took over the Capitals in 2014, Washington made the second round every season - and always lost, until Monday.

The latter point could still very well end up happening, but they enter Monday's Game 6 (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, live stream) in Winnipeg facing a must-win situation, needing to win back-to-back games against a Jets team that has given them fits in their second-round series. Pittsburgh is 1-5 this postseason when giving up four goals or more. Letang ripped a low slap shot past Holtby from near the blue line.

With the game deadlocked at 1-1 after 60 minutes, the Capitals and Penguins headed to overtime.

Each team also found a bunch of scoring opportunities in the third period, but no one could convert until Kuznetsov's overtime goal. That's hardly the case with the Jets, who until a month ago had won exactly zero postseason games in their 18 years of existence and now find themselves one victory away from the Western Conference finals. "Just go out there and lay it out there and see how it goes". We're just looking to get the job done and maybe after we can talk about the feelings.

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