Capitals eliminate Blue Jackets with Game 6 win
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[April 24, 2018]
Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th
and 51st career playoff goals as the Washington Capitals finished
off the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of their
Eastern Conference first-round series Monday night in Columbus,
The Capitals won the series 4-2 despite dropping the first two games
at home -- both in overtime.
"We watched the first two games, and we watched the chances we were
giving up," Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly said in a postgame
TV interview. "Everyone was committed to (playing better). Everyone
bought in. It's a group of guys who wants to win."
Washington advances to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second
round. The Capitals have lost nine of the 10 times they have taken
on the Penguins in the playoffs, including the last seven.
Ovechkin's milestone goal was a tiebreaker, giving the Caps the lead
for good at 2-1 with 7:10 left in the second period. He scored on a
backhander, putting away the rebound of a shot from Brooks Orpik
Ovechkin stretched it to 3-1 on a power-play goal with 1:37
remaining in the middle period on a one-timer off a John Carlson
Ovechkin finished the series with five goals, and Carlson ended up
with eight assists. Jay Beagle added two assists Monday.
Washington goalie Braden Holtby started for the fourth straight game
after Philipp Grubauer got the nod in the first two. Holtby has been
strong since then, and he made 35 saves in the clincher.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said of the Capitals, "They were
pretty stingy. I give Washington credit for, through the series, how
well they defended. We thought we might be able to get something
going against them. They defended hard."
The Capitals scored first for the fifth time in the series thanks to
a bullet from Dmitry Orlov. He took a pass from Matt Niskanen,
skated between the circles and fired a high shot past goalie Sergei
Bobrovsky with 7:48 left in the first period.
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Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) knocks the puck away from
Washington Capitals right wing Brett Connolly (10) during the second
period in game six of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup
Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA
Columbus killed off overlapping penalties in the second period and
tied the game shortly thereafter when Nick Foligno fired a shot from
the right side past Holtby at 8:40.
Ovechkin then put the Caps in front with his two second-period
Pierre-Luc Dubois cut the lead to one for Columbus early in the
third period before Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson (one goal,
one assist) scored 94 seconds apart for a 5-2 Washington lead with
14:30 left in the game.
Foligno added a second goal later in the period before Lars Eller
gave the Caps an empty-netter in the final minute as Washington
notched three in the third.
"It stings. I'm not really sure what to say right now," Foligno
said. "I'm still dissecting everything. It was a good series. I
think we learned a lot about ourselves. This is a team we have in
here that's a hell of a team. We had a real good opportunity being
up 2-0 and didn't make the most of it."
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, "The Columbus Blue Jackets ...
(it's) a real resilient, good young team that they have. The future
is bright here. They have some great pieces, so it was a war out
there. It was a really strong series by them. They forced us to the
limit for sure."
--Field Level Media
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