Capitals finally beat the Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs


Capitals and Penguins handshake after a game. The Capitals beat the Penguins in game 6 of round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jake Brown, Sports Editor

The Washington Capitals’ curse during the postseason stemmed from the fact that they could never beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 7 game series. Since the Penguins and Capitals were expanded into the league, the Capitals have only won one playoff series in 10 attempts against the Penguins. The lone series victory occurred in the spring of 1997.

Since 1997, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was five, Justin Timberlake was still with *N’SYNC, and gas was a dollar per gallon.

The Capitals were close last year as they went to game seven against their arch rival, but fell 2-0 thanks to Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is now with the Vegas Golden Knights. Now that they didn’t have to deal with Fleury anymore, the Capitals were confident going into the second round against their rival.

In game one, the Capitals took a commanding 2-1 lead against the Penguins, thanks to Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s quick goal to start the series. Penguins captain and center Sidney Crosby scored one goal and had two assists  in the final period, allowing the Penguins to take game one away from the Capitals

Things were definitely different in game two, though. Capitals center Lars Eller was a big help with his line. He had three assists to amount to a 4-1 win over the Penguins. Goaltender Braden Holtby also performed well, with 33 saves and some highlight reel plays.

Game three was nailbiter. After the Capitals scored two to take a 2-1 lead, the Penguins fought back and took a 3-2 lead. However, Capitals captain and forward Alex Ovechkin scored the game winning, last minute goal to seal the deal in Pittsburgh putting the Caps up 2-1 in the series.

The Capitals didn’t show up in game four, as Holtby had a tough time saving shots from Penguins center Jake Guentzel, who scored two goals with assists from Crosby. The game ended in 3-1 victory for the Penguins to tie the series at 2-2.

The Capitals had different ideas in Washington. We have heard this story before. The Capitals took the lead in the first period, and the Penguins scored two to take the lead 3-2. The Capitals offense was not having it because they scored four goals in the third, including two empty netters from forward T. J. Oshie and Eller. Kuznetsov was important in that game as well, scoring three points with a goal and two assists.

Then, the Capitals and Penguins would go to Pittsburgh in one of the most important games in their rivalry. The game started with a tight goal from Capitals forward Alex Chiasson to put the Capitals up 1-0. The Penguins answered with a goal just after a faceoff from defenseman Kris Letang. After some great defense from Holtby and the rest of the players on the two teams, the game went into overtime. Great shots came from both sides. There was even a shot from the Penguins that went off the crossbar. The savior from the Capitals came from Ovechkin. He broke out from the Penguins defense, gave it to Kuznetsov, and he scored. The Capitals won the game in Pittsburgh to win the series against their biggest rival.

After the game everyone hugged Kuznetsov as the crowd went wild. Even though it was an away game, the crowd chanted “Let’s go Caps!” It was truly one of the greatest games in DC sports history.