Alex Ovechkin, Capitals put halt to 20-year East finals drought


Or, they can stick with the game plan that's produced so many good outcomes over the past 28 months.

It was a long time coming, for Ovechkin and his coach and so many others in that dressing room - including Beagle, in his 10th year with the Capitals, having never gotten a sniff of the championship rounds.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are now down 3-2 in this series after falling 6-3 in game five at Washington on Saturday night. Tonight is the biggest game in Capitals history.

"I imagine this will be one of the toughest games any of us have ever faced", says T.J. Oshie, author of an empty-netter in a 6-3 win on Saturday, which gave Washington the 3-2 series lead.

For Ovechkin, the win over the Penguins continues perhaps the best postseason of his career.

Vrana also posted two assists.

"I can tell you how I feel if there's four wins", Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said. If head coach Barry Trotz chooses to rest him, however, Washington could turn to Philipp Grubauer (15-22-5), who has a.919 save percentage and 2.47 goals against average this year. For the Caps, winning game six would be best.

"Finally. we move forward", said Ovechkin, who will be making his first conference finals appearance. Washington did run into some trouble in that first round series against Columbus.

Each team also found a bunch of scoring opportunities in the third period, but no one could convert until Kuznetsov's overtime goal.

Losing a Stanley Cup can happen in an instant. He leaned down to block a shot in the first period of Game 5, and it went off his hand.

James Oleksiak gave the Penguins a 1-0 advantage in the first with Sydney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist scoring in the second for a 3-2 lead heading to the third.

Perhaps this year will be different, but it's impossible to write-off the Penguins who have a loaded lineup, are two time defending champs and are probably the best team in the National Hockey League. The NHL isn't the National Basketball Association.

To become the first team in 35 years to earn three consecutive titles, the Penguins don't really have a choice.

According to oddsmakers, the Penguins are a -190 favorite to win on the moneyline. They've demonstrated as much over the past two games, but especially in Game 5, which is what made that result all the more vexing. A Letang pass on a set breakout tipped off the edge of Crosby's reaching stick three times - on the backhand, then the forehand, then the backhand again - before finding a home on Ovechkin's blade. We got in the neutral zone, we got pucks deep, we forechecked when we needed to and we paid attention to the details."The Preds and the Jets had the two best records in the league this year, and this has the look of a seven-game series.It may well come down to goaltending-a battle between Rinne and Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck".

It all starts at 7 PM EST on NBC Sports Network. Or, will we be talking about another potential choke job by the Caps?