Game 7 on Wednesday night was a flawless example of how the Pens can beat the trap.
An arena so raucous just hours earlier - all the red-jersey-clad fans shouting along with that color's mention during the national anthem, chanting "Let's go, Caps!" during play - was in a hush as the final seconds ticked away and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2-0 victory over Washington on Wednesday night to close out their Eastern Conference semifinal.
It was the second year in a row that Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and the rest of the Capitals earned the Presidents' Trophy for the NHL's best regular-season record but exited in the second round of the playoffs.
Crosby wasn't suspended. Methot returned to Ottawa's lineup by the second game of a first-round playoff series with Boston.
The Sens have been getting contributions from all over the lineup, with Mark Stone starting to heat up, Bobby Ryan rediscovering his scoring touch and Jean-Gabriel Pageau torching the Rangers for four goals in Ottawa's dramatic overtime win in Game 2 of the second round series versus NY.
At stake is a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Meanwhile the Senators have been more timely than good with the man advantage, going 6 for 41 (14.6%) but have also allowed 3 opposition short-handed goals, so their power play is just +3 in the playoffs.
"We're not in this position moving on if he doesn't play the way he did", said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. "That's exactly what they want". The Senators' defense is created to force the Penguins and their waves of highly skilled playmakers into making sloppy mistakes. "But we don't get the result".
HALF EMPTY: The Leafs have not won a round in the post-season since 2003-04; Toronto still has not learned how to win on the big stage as they blew a 2-1 series lead against Washington.
The Capitals captain made no mention of an injury during the playoffs.
"You don't want to play with any sort of injury, obviously", Ovechkin said.
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"We've been through so much the last two years here", forward Patric Hornqvist said.
That's fine by the Senators. Don't count them out though, as they have been playing at a very high level. Just don't mistake the joy that spilled onto the ice after beating the Rangers in six games with satisfaction. "We've been out-chancing them almost every game and he's been saving them".
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Pittsburgh Penguins are now the favorite with +175 odds. The Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Game 7 Wednesday night, May 10. They were the superior team in those first four contests against the Capitals, too. "I'm just going to be honest [about] what I think and as I said, maybe I've been talking a little bit more than previous years, but I'm an honest guy I think and I'm just gonna say whatever I feel like needs to be said. when I was younger a couple of years ago I would probably hold back a little bit".
The Caps were also a force to be reckoned with when they were outnumbered Monday, killing off penalties easily and blocking pucks left and right as they swarmed a seemingly helpless Pens team. It's hardly slowed him down. On the Penguins' crushing second goal, he lost the battle for the puck on the wall to Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz. "The way he skates and the vision he has, it's really impressive". Since his arrival, Shattenkirk has been a bust, and there seems to be no reason to think Washington will re-sign him due to his play and likely demand for a pricey contract. The third game went to a shootout, with the Senators winning by a score of 2-1.
Up until Game 5, no team in the Stanley Cup playoffs was playing better than Pittsburgh.
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Craig Anderson has been the story for the Senators all season long. Nicholle is in Florida and will undergo a PET scan later this month to gauge her progress.
"Every day matters for us", Senators coach Guy Boucher said.
It was as complete a game as Pittsburgh has had through two rounds, even though it was without injured defenseman Trevor Daley and winger Carl Hagelin.
But this series, as he shifted down to the third line and then had zero positive impact in Game 7, was different.