The Capitals finally beat the Penguins. They don't want to stop there

The Capitals finally beat the Penguins. They don't want to stop there

In Washington's tying goal in game five, Letang went to the wrong side of the ice and Kuznetsov went right up the middle of the ice, untouched after receiving a pass, and scored. And he was proved correct.

The Capitals finally got over the hump Monday night, as Evgeny Kuznetsov buried an overtime victor in Game 6 of Washington's second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Penguins to lift his team to its first Eastern Conference finals appearance since 1998.

That type of confidence was needed for Washington to overcome their struggles against Pittsburgh in the past.

Braden Holtby stopped 21 shots for the Capitals, who will face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals. Chances are, the Lightning will be far less leaky than the Penguins appeared at times during this series, including tonight. No one knew how well he was going to play considering he's struggled against the Penguins, but he was fantastic in all six of these games. Nathan Walker got the primary assist in his first National Hockey League playoff game on a quick pass from behind the goal.

Pushing that number to 18-5 would send the series back to Washington and force the Capitals try to explain - again - how this time will be different.

He did score the game-winner in Game 5, but that was his only goal in four games this series.

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That last step, however, has always been tricky. Four previous times during the Ovechkin Era - including in 2009 and 2017 against Pittsburgh - the Capitals have won three games in the second round of the playoffs.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan lauded Murray despite the loss.

"I heard the reaction of the crowd and saw on the Jumbotron that it hit the post, so that was unfortunate", said Kuhnhackl, who described it as "bitter, disappointing". You could argue this team is playing as well or better than it ever has under Coach Jon Cooper, including its past two postseason appearances, when it reached the 2015 Stanley Cup finals and forced a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals a year later. But the goal isn't to get past the second round. He stuffed Jakub Vrana on a breakaway, and at about the games midway point, Sullivan had seen enough.

Center Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal in Game 5, but forwards Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard were held without a goal.

Crosby won a faceoff in the offensive zone and fed it to Letang, whose shot from the point Washington's Chandler Stephenson and slipped by Holtby 11:52 into the second to tie it and set the stage for more drama in a series and a rivalry that continues to one-up itself spring after spring. "Make the playoffs. First round".

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