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The full schedule won’t be released until Tuesday, but we already know how the 2016-17 season will begin: with pain.

The Washington Capitals will open up the new season at home against the Islanders on October 15, but two days prior they’ll be in Pittsburgh for the Penguins’ home opener.

That night, the Penguins will raise their new Stanley Cup banner in front of the Washington Capitals, who don’t have one of those.

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Caps at Penguins Pregame: Flip Two Coins

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The spirit of ’09 (Photo: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals enjoyed their last elimination game, a 3-1 win on home ice, but there’s no time for congratulations. To keep their season alive, the Caps must now win on enemy territory against a very good opponent. It won’t be easy, but this is the freaking Capitals in May. It has never been easy.

Puck drops at 8 PM in Pittsburgh. Game’s on NBC Sports. I’m told the Chris From the Comments Liveblog will be back as well.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Caps Fans Celebrate on Gallery Steps, Pens Fans MIA

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Six days ago, the Penguins defeated the Capitals at Verizon Center and their fans got raucous on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery.

Saturday, after the Caps thumped the Penguins 3-1 in Game Five, a handful of Caps fans defended the steps with their own celebration. Pittsburgh fans were nowhere to be seen. Now that’s moar like it!

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Caps Trump Penguins 3-1, Make Hockey Great Again

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Photo: Patrick Smith

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.

Caps beat Penguins 3-1.

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Caps vs Penguins Pregame: The Raggedy Edge

Alex Smile

Tonight at 7:15 PM in Verizon Center, our Washington Capitals will fight for their playoff lives. Backs against the wall, do or die, crap or get off the pot — choose your idiom; they all work.

I don’t have much to say. Talk is cheap, get pucks deep. Scoar moar goals. Crash the net.

The Penguins lead the series 3-1. I don’t want to write about breakdown day on Monday.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Penguins Beat Caps 3-2: Life is Suffering

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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.

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Caps at Penguins Pregame: Schmidtuation Critical

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Welcome to Game Four. Let’s Do. This. It’s on. It’s so on.

The Caps need this game and, if they play much like they did on Monday night, they have a good chance of evening up the series. Just to make the challenge a little more difficult, Barry Trotz appears to have made a lineup decision that makes his team worse. More on that below.

8 PM start, unfortunately. NBCSN, even more unfortunately.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Penguins beat Caps 3-2: Nothing Feels Good

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Urine (Photo: Tom Guilitti

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.

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Caps at Penguins Pregame: Bounce Back

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Photo: Dave DiCello

Tonight, the curtain drops in Pittsburgh for Game Three. The series is tied at 1-1, and it’s evident that the Capitals must play the hockey. After getting dominated by the Pens in Game Two, the Caps hope to bounce back in essentially every aspect of their play. (Except for you, Braden Holtby. We heart you forever.)

Puck drop is at 8 PM from Consol Energy Center, whose namesake’s stock is finally trading up. NBCSN with da coverage.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Rock the Red Wedding: Penguins beat Caps 2-1

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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.

Pens beat Caps 2-1. The series is tied 1-1.

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