Capitals square series 3-3 against Penguins


The proof is hanging in the closet in Bruce Peters' home in Waldorf, Maryland, about 30 miles away from where the Presidents' Trophy winners lost Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night with a spot in the Eastern Conference finals at stake.

The other key takeaway here is about how important the Penguins-Capitals series is for NBC. Despite all their skill, Washington is disgusting when it comes to 4-on-4 play. Across the bottom it reads: "Playoffs 1981 - Paid Hell To Get Here".

Fortunately, the Penguins are still the defending champions, and are one of the most resilient clubs in the league.

Not that it mattered to Peters.

So much can change so swiftly at this time of year. Peter Bondra and Olaf Kolzig. But, the pressure still weighs heavily on the shoulders of Alex Ovechkin and company.

"Obviously there's more at stake when it's the final game", said Carlyle, who won the Cup in 2007 but hasn't won a Game 7 since 2006. Now the better team has taken control of the series. Fifteen of the 20 players expected to dress have played in at least one Game 7 in their careers.

"These are the games that you live to play in", Sullivan said. "I say, 'No,"' Malkin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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"The Penguins always seemed to get the bounce", Peters said.

"No", he said and nothing more. And now they include another miserable chapter.

It should be a Game 7 for the ages. It didn't end until around 2 a.m. on April 19, when Pat LaFontaine's turnaround snapshot from the point threaded through a sea of bodies and beat Bob Mason 8:47 into the fourth overtime.

But the save - that's the play that stands out all these years later.

A week removed from a concussion that sidelined him for a game, Crosby ended up skating slowly off the ice after what he described as having the wind knocked out of him.

TURRIS TIME: Ottawa Senators Game 5 star Kyle Turris became the seventh player in National Hockey League history to score three overtime winners in his first 40 Stanley Cup playoff games.

It also came exactly a week after Crosby sustained a concussion in Game 3. In the three games Pittsburgh has won, the Penguins blocked over 28 shots per game.

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THE SERIES: Tied, 3-3. Pittsburgh advanced in six games.

This year's Penguins-Capitals Game 5 was up 4% vs. the same series' Game 5 last year (Total Audience Deliver of 4.187 million), which also aired after the Kentucky Derby. The breakthrough moment never came. Andre Burakovsky stripped the puck from Ron Hainsey along the boards and walked in on Marc-Andre Fleury, beating him with a patient shot from in close that squeaked through the netminder's arm and into the net for a 2-0 Washington lead - the only goal of the night that didn't beat Fleury high-glove.

"We're going to see, for the first time in this series, that Pittsburgh has their back against the wall as well", says Caps coach Barry Trotz.

#1 - Home-ice advantage may not matter. It lasted all of seven games. The Austrian winger has scored three goals and added an assist.

The Penguins, however, have a couple of players with impressive Game 7 resumes of their own. His team has won all of those games. Another hot goalie. Another abrupt ending. They think they can win Game 7. A few hours later, they skated off amid mostly silence, although a smattering of boos pushed back against some cheering fans in black and gold. No longer is Washington trying to avoid embarrassment; now Pittsburgh is. It looked like another premature playoff exit for Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals.

Just don't expect Peters to stop rocking the red.

"I'm not sure if I believe in momentum from game to game", Niskanen said. "Eventually it's going to turn".

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