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Sport The Capitals playoff hopes live on because stars like Alex Ovechkin shined in Game 5

06:10  07 may  2017
06:10  07 may  2017 Source:   sbnation.com?utm_source=MSNbanner

Joe Starkey: Capitals look finished after Penguins deal another blow

  Joe Starkey: Capitals look finished after Penguins deal another blow WASHINGTON — Nicklas Backstrom claimed his Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals were the “underdogs” heading into this series. BOX SCORE: PENGUINS 6, CAPITALS 2

And until Game 5 , the star power was shining mostly for one side. Consider that Sidney Crosby scored twice And a typical Alex Ovechkin goal: a gallop down the wing, a slice through traffic and a Sure, to Capitals coach Barry Trotz. He desperately blended his lines, putting Ovechkin on the third line

As Alex Ovechkin goes, so go the Washington Capitals . This hypothesis has been proven so often during Ovechkin 's nine-year career with the Capitals that it is now accepted Last season, Ovechkin started ice-cold. He scored only two goals in his first 10 games and had only nine goals by the 24th

  The Capitals playoff hopes live on because stars like Alex Ovechkin shined in Game 5 © Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

Hockey people will tell you that hockey is the ultimate team sport. But even they can’t deny that star power is what draws so many people to this Penguins-Capitals series.

And until Game 5, the star power was shining mostly for one side.

Consider that Sidney Crosby scored twice in the series-opener, on Washington ice no less. And less than a minute apart. When he left with a concussion in Game 3, Evgeni Malkin stepped up and delivered the Penguins a miraculous two-goal comeback to force overtime. When the short-handed Penguins needed big stops in Game 4, Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 36 shots in a one-goal game.

Without Sidney Crosby, Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination

  Without Sidney Crosby, Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination Pittsburgh downed Washington 3-2 in Game 4 without its captain to take a 3-1 series lead.Yet somehow the Penguins are one win short of reaching the Eastern Conference Final after downing the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 4 of their Eastern semifinal.

2004 — Capitals draft Alexander Ovechkin first overall. Photo by Sara Davis/Getty Images. The centerpiece Washington built these Cup contenders But over Games 5 and 6, the Capitals emerged. The Good Capitals , mind you. Their stars started scoring again, and Holtby made some great saves.

Well, the Capitals have got themselves in a pickle after a poor start doomed them in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern "Best-of-3, we said it before the game and we just have to win two games," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "Our goal is to come back here and

That’s a lot of words to state the obvious: the Penguins had been able to string together big moments from big players when they needed them most. The Capitals hadn’t, and that’s why they faced the chopping block in Game 5.

And in what seemed like a span of five minutes in the third period, the Capitals got that string and saved their season.

Down by one goal, Nicklas Backstrom scored after an unusually quiet night (he had scored in two straight games).

Then, a series of Holtby stops in tight.

A wicked, wicked shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov to gain the lead.

And a typical Alex Ovechkin goal: a gallop down the wing, a slice through traffic and a game-sealing wrister.

There they are.

If the Capitals had lost, bowed out of the playoffs early once again in front of their own fans, blame would rightly be laid at the feet of those four players. Not to mention the other notable Capitals: Kevin Shattenkirk has had a miserable playoffs, Andre Burakovsky went silent for four games, and T.J. Oshie hasn’t been noticeable. Even Noted Playoff Moment-Riser-Man Justin Williams hasn’t made a big impact in this series.

Marc-Andre Fleury, blooming defense power Penguins past Caps for 3-1 series lead

  Marc-Andre Fleury, blooming defense power Penguins past Caps for 3-1 series lead During a brief break in the ongoing siege, the Penguins' hatches battened yet hardly secure, Ian Cole went thwacking through their personal garden on a mission of thanks. As he cruised across the Pittsburgh crease, Cole passed Marc-Andre Fleury, the goalie who carries the appropriately sunny nickname "Flower," who similarly spent the bulk of Wednesday night lugging his teammates on his skinny shoulders. "Keep going," Cole told him, thumping Fleury's pads with his stick.

Day afternoon game against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Washington Capitals rookie forward scored a spectacular goal that Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky "[ Capitals defenseman] Brendan Witt threw the puck in the neutral zone, and I had full speed to pick it up," Ovechkin said. "I made a toe pick, slid on

If you watched Saturday's game hoping to see Alex Ovechkin 's 700th goal, you left more than a Not only was Ovechkin held off the scoresheet, but the Capitals were also obliterated by the You can't dismiss this game offhand because the team is not playing well and this game was a reflection of that.

The inability to put away this Penguins team, hobbled with an ailing Crosby, no Kris Letang, a beat-up blueline and a cast of youthful but raw forwards would be the highest playoffs disappointment for a franchise full of them.

So credit where it’s due. Sure, to Capitals coach Barry Trotz. He desperately blended his lines, putting Ovechkin on the third line with Lars Eller and Tom Wilson and Burakovsky with Backstrom and Oshie. But line-blending is just the first step. It’s up to those star players (the envy of every other team in the NHL) to do something about this elimination game.

And they did it. For one game, the Washington Capitals looked like the Washington Capitals. For one desperate night, the best players on the NHL’s best regular season team actually played like it.

For their sake, they should hope they didn’t show up to the party too late.

Related slideshow: 2017 NHL Playoffs (Provided by photo services)

Sidney Crosby doesn't fault Ovechkin or Niskanen for play that led to concussion

  Sidney Crosby doesn't fault Ovechkin or Niskanen for play that led to concussion The Penguins captain said there was no malice from Capitals in the play that left him with another concussion.After practice, Crosby spoke about the play that left him concussed during Monday night’s Game 3 in Pittsburgh. After being slashed by Alex Ovechkin while driving the net, an off-balance Crosby fell towards Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who delivered a cross-check to the head of the Penguins captain.

Alex Ovechkin didn’t trip on his shoelaces. He didn’t whiff on shots or pull a McNabb on the blue line. Maybe they did choke under the weight of three decades of postseason failure. Or maybe the story behind the latest and greatest playoff collapse for the NHL’s most underachieving franchise was

Alex Ovechkin is often unfairly criticized for not showing up in big games , but there was no such chatter of the like on Tuesday night. That's because the Capitals superstar came up huge for Washington in Game 3 of its second-round series against the Penguins.

After another crushing playoff loss, uncomfortable questions about Alex Ovechkin’s future arise .
<p>Alex Ovechkin is usually quiet when he talks to the media, but Wednesday night, after yet another crushing 2-0 Game 7 loss to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Capitals captain was practically inaudible.</p>WASHINGTON, D.C. - Alex Ovechkin is usually quiet when he talks to the media, but Wednesday night, after yet another crushing 2-0 Game 7 loss to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Capitals captain was practically inaudible.

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