An early deficit, sent spiraling by a terrible penalty, then a stirring, unlikely comeback, sudden defeat. Game Six was the height of Caps playoff chaos. If you emotionally checked out early, I can’t blame you. If, late in the game, you didn’t high-five until your hands got all red and stingy, I can’t understand you. If you’re reeling right now, you are my people.
Penguins beat Capitals 4-3 in overtime. Penguins win the series 4-2.
How great are the Washington Capitals? I mean, how totally great are the Washington Capitals? Look at how the Capitals played in game five. They played great, so totally great, you will love how great they played. And the Penguins? Bad. So bad.
How’d the game start? Boom. Alex Ovechkin power play goal. But the Penguins came back, because the Penguins don’t respect us, they think we’re jokes, just like the rest of the world, and that’s why Chris Kunitz scored on a rebound.
But the Capitals are gorgeous so — and you’re going to love this — TJ Oshie scored a power-play goal and then Justin Williams put one in Matt Murray’s five-hole, really schlonged him there.
The absences of Kris Letang and Olli Maata (and Eric Fehr) gave the Caps a major advantage in Game Four. And then Barry Trotz played Mike Weber instead of Nate Schmidt. You know how this ends. Let’s move onto discussing the game itself, shall we?
This game had a little bit of everything, including a tragic denouement. Jay Beagle got a certified puck luck goal, but Sidney Crosby got his first point (and temper tantrum) in the series. Overall, there wasn’t much suggesting that the Caps were taking advantage of the absences of the Pens’ two best defensemen.
The second period was a vomit fest. Spoiler alert: so was overtime. For a time, the Pens eventually mercifully faltered, and the Justin Williams Postseason Redemption Campaign continued. A fabulous shift by Williams and Andre Burakovsky led to John Carlson’s game-tying goal. As expected, the Caps stepped up their game for the third. A scoreless period resulted in overtime, to the chagrin of early risers everywhere.
Penguins beat the Caps 3-2 in OT. Penguins lead the series 3-1.
Albert Camus portrayed existence as the mythical Sisyphus carrying a stone up a hill only to watch it fall once he reached the top. Sisyphus trudges down and starts over. He drags up the hill again, and again it drops. This story, Camus tells us, is just like life: meaningless, tedious, thoroughly absurd.
Just like Capitals playoff hockey!
Washington sure tried hard. They sorta dominated play in Game Three, but the universe is unconcerned with effort. The Caps lost. The rock rolled down the hill.
Patric Hornqvist got one first, scoring after a failed Caps clear. One minute later it was Tom Kuhnhackle’s turn, getting some lucky bounces to beat Braden Holtby.
The Caps were furious in the second period, but it was Carl Hagelin who struck, making it 3-0 after Nate Schmidt’s misplay in his own end.
In the third, Alex Ovechkin ripped one to the top corner to crack Matt Murray’s shutout. With a minute left, Justin Williams found an open net and scored. The Caps pushed hard in those final minutes, but the rock rolled back down the hill.
Penguins beat Caps 3-2. Penguins lead the series 2-1.
On April 30, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
That was brutal. The Washington Capitals played badly and poorly against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two. I mean poorly in the sense that they did not perform well. I mean badly in the sense that they did some stuff that wasn’t exactly gallant. And yet, thanks to the singularly stellar performance of a certain Saskatchewanian stud in net, the Caps kept the score close.
The Penguins had little to show for their possession dominance until Nick Bonino won a board battle and set up Carl Hagelin for the opening goal.
In the third, Marcus Johansson, that notorious softy, tied the game with a power play goal earned from the paint. But with five minutes left, former Capital Eric Fehr caught a puck from Evgeni Malkin and tapped home the game-winner.
On April 28, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since 2009, first time in the RMNB era. (Is that a thing? Can we say that?) We knew this series would be entertaining, but I don’t know if I was truly prepared for Game One being the seventy-minute, end-to-end, goal-filled, goat tornado that it was.
Scoring was opened with Swedish aplomb by prom king Andre Burakovsky, popping in a loose puck with a one-timer in the first period.
In the second, the Penguins struck back with two goals in 60 seconds: Ben Lovejoy’s goal after Orlov and Schmidt wrecked one another and Evgeni Malkin’s nifty top-shelf shot. Olli Maata’s blue-line giveaway freed TJ Oshie for a breakaway goal, tying the game at 2 after 40 minutes.
Oshie did it again in the third period, giving the Caps the lead with a backhander to Murray’s five hole, but Nick Bonino got a fortunate bounce off Schmidt’s stick to tie it again. That score got us to the end of #rego and into overtime.
TJ OSHIE WON IT WITH A WRAPAROUND! HAT TRICK PLAYOFF OVERTIME GAME WINNING GOAL!
On April 24, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Kyle Mace
Well, don’t we all feel like silly gooses. Turns out the Capitals are capable of closing out a series in under seven games after all. With a nailbiting win over the Flyers in Philadelphia, the Caps advance to the next round.
We were scoreless until the midway mark, when Nick Backstrom scored a rush goal on Michal Neuvirth. That was it. That’s all it took.
Caps beat Flyers 1-0! Caps win the series 4-2! Braden Holtby records the shutout!
On April 20, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: John Clark
You didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, did you? Without special teams dominance and a convincing performance at even strength, the Washington Capitals dropped Game Four to the Flyers. It’s just prolonging the suffering is what it is.
Shayne Gostisbehere, the Ghost Bear, got his first playoff goal with a blue-line slapper in the first period, deflected off Karl Alzner up front. The Flyers made it 2-0 in the second period with a goal by — I’m not making this up — Andrew MacDonald.
The Caps finally got something going early in the third, with TJ Oshie putting a backhand tuck past Philly goalie Michal Neuvirth. What followed was a barrage of Caps offense, but no goals.
Flyers beat Caps 2-1. Caps still lead the series 3-1.
On April 18, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
In Game Three, the Washington Capitals magnanimously spotted an early goal to the grieving Philadelphia Flyers. But dirty play by the home team squandered that good will, so the Flyers had to be put down. Without mercy.
Philadelphia, feeling the high of a pregame tribute to Ed Snider, scored in the first minute off the stick of Michael Raffl. The Caps returned fire with a power-play goal, Marcus Johansson’s tip-in of John Carlson’s slapper.
Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal of the second period, the end result of some great neutral-zone work by the top line.
In the third, Evgeny Kuznetsov joined the rodeo, grabbing a weird bounce and pantsing Steve Mason to put the Flyers in a two-goal hole. Alex Ovechkin buried it during a supersized power play late in the game, but a bunch of hardcore Philly fans had already headed towards the exit by then. They didn’t even see Jay Beagle make it a six spot.
Caps beat Flyers 6-1! Caps take a 3-0 series lead!