NHL Playoffs: Evgeny Kuznetsov's OT goal beats Penguins, Capitals exorcise demons

Caps end Penguins' hex, win series in OT

He had only a split-second to shoot.

Barry Trotz had coached 1,524 regular-season games and 101 more in the playoffs, without ever advancing to even the conference finals.

This was a ideal chance to score: In overtime.

The Penguins responded by evening the series at 2 with a 3-1 victory in Game Four.

It was the chance of a lifetime for Kuhnhackl: a blind shot from the right dot. The Capitals repeatedly clogged up the neutral zone, and Pittsburgh often was effective defensively when Washington found chances. We're just looking to get the job done and maybe after we can talk about the feelings.

The Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime.

Washington will hope the Swede can return for Game 7 or, in case of a Game 6 win, the first game of the Eastern Conference finals. "I'm just happy right now". All of the credit should go to the Capitals.

The Washington Capitals will have to try and knock the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs without center Nicklas Backstrom.

"It's pretty simple, we win we keep playing", Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said.

That was the problem. A stretch in which they were carried by their top six and had no other scoring. The next couple days you take to come up with a game plan against them, do your research. "I think this group knows how hard it is to win in the playoffs".

If there was such a thing as a curse, the Capitals reversed it.

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After losing two of three home games to the Flyers in the first round, the Penguins had a repeat performance against the Capitals. "It's nearly embarrassing that it's taken this long for us to get past it". "Sometimes you need those breaks".

"We set goals every year", Leonsis said. Mentally, that definitely affects guys. You can see everybody blocking shots, everybody play defensively. Obviously, we'll enjoy it.

Instead, they heard the clank of puck off the post.

Braden Holtby stopped 21 shots for the Capitals.

"We flew under the radar a little bit, and that took the pressure off", Beagle said. "I thought our window had closed and we had an old team and we had five rookies".

Kuhnhackl couldn't find the words, either. "I just focus on the game".

"That's the word that probably hits it the best", Kuhnhackl said.

One the Capitals believe they're finally ready to pass.

"Seriously", Kuhnhackl said. "That would've been nice to get that one off the back and help the team out, but that's how hockey is sometimes". All Washington has to do to produce a cathartic breakthrough is hand the Penguins their first series loss in 37 months.

The Captials celebrate after a game winning goal against the Penguins inside of PPG Paints Arena on May 7, 2018.

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