The Washington Capitals have a chance to do something they have not done in the Alex Ovechkin era, is it possible?
With a win tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era.
During the Ovechkin era, Washington has had some of the best seasons in their history. They won the President’s Trophy in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 season as the team with the best record in hockey. The problem was that they could not get past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.
Washington’s second round struggles are not only with the Penguins. They blew a 3-1 series lead in the second round against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers in the 2014-15 season. One of their bigger collapses in franchise history.
Now they go back to Pittsburgh up three games to two, coming off a 6-3 win in game five at home. They have won four of their five games on the road this postseason, outscoring their opponent 20-8.
In the series, Ovechkin is doing what he does best, scoring. He’s scored three goals and has tallied three assists. Braden Holtby has re-established himself as one of the best goaltenders in the league. Holtby is 3-2 in the series with a .915 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average.
During the first round against Columbus, Washington was up 3-2 in the series. They took advantage in game six winning 6-3. Ovechkin scored two goals in the game and Washington moved on. Washington did run into some trouble in that first round series against Columbus. They dropped the first two games of that series but would go onto win the next four games, three of them on the road.
Scoring the first goal is always key for a team trying to clinch on the road. In this series, Washington has scored first in three of the five games. Getting the Pittsburgh crowd out of it early will be huge.
Pittsburgh is the two time defending Stanley Cup champions, most fans not in Pittsburgh will be rooting for Washington. Nothing against the Penguins, but it would be nice to see a different team win it all for a change. The NHL isn’t the NBA. It isn’t a league where the same team wins every year. The reason why fans love the NHL playoffs is becasue it is the hardest trophy in sports to win. That description won’t be the same should the Penguins win it for the third straight year.
Should Washington drop the next two games, they would fall short of the second round yet again with Ovechkin. It would really be a shame should this happen again considering that Ovechkin is one of the best goal scorers of all time. As Ranger fans, we know what it’s like seeing a generational talent not get to the promised land.
It all starts at 7 PM EST on NBC Sports Network. Will we be talking about a series-clinching victory? Or, will we be talking about another potential choke job by the Caps?