And so we've come to this. Pittsburgh has won the three previous deciding games, the last in 2009 in Washington on its way to the Stanley Cup. They very obviously did not have the laser focus that playoff hockey requires and the Capitals made them pay. "He's a mobile guy, he can skate, he can get back to pucks, he helps us get out of our end zone". Ray Brewer won the 2015-2016 season, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-2015.
In Game 5, the Penguins looked like they might actually close out the series after the first two periods.
The Canadian star was also sent crashing into the boards during a Penguins power play.
At the end of the day theyre a different team, said Adam Oates, who coached the Capitals 5-0 Game 7 loss in 2012. "The fun part is the obstacle, and the obstacle is a good team in Pittsburgh". I'm sure that you could poll 100 people, and 99 of them would say they'd rather play at home. Goaltender John Gibson was pulled from his only Game 7 start in 2014 after allowing four goals on 18 shots, and hes coming another hook after three goals on six shots in a 7-1 drubbing in Game 6 on Sunday.
While the Capitals sniper has been relatively quiet during these playoffs - five goals and eight points in 12 games - it's not from a lack of effort.
If you're looking for some hope, there's not much. Jaromir Jagr (whoops) and Alex Ovechkin.
Pittsburgh went to Tampa Bay in last year's Eastern Conference final behind 3-2 in the series. It's up to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel to get their offense going. Through blown 3-1 leads and Game 7s that nearly always ended with a handshake line as the other guys moved on.
Mourinho hits out at Man Utd supporters and fixture schedule
It might be a little more light hearted this time round, but don't expect it to last too long... He continued: "I think Arsene Wenger is not a small manager, he's a big manager".
The T-shirt, purchased at the long-since demolished Capital Centre, remains in impeccable condition. Through the regular season and the playoffs combined, the Caps have scored only once at 4-on-4. Overall this postseason, the Pens are 5th in the National Hockey League in faceoff win percentage at 52.8 percent. Then, crumble it up and throw it away.
"The Hurricanes" coach in that Game 7 against Edmonton was none other than Peter Laviolette, who's waiting for the Ducks or Oilers in the Western Conference final with the Nashville Predators.
The early dominance of the Caps "D" set the tone for a night in which Pittsburgh's high-flying offense, which found success even without Crosby and Conor Sheary earlier in the series, had no time to get into a rhythm.
Or... the Caps could lean on leadership from Kevin Shattenkirk and Justin Williams, AKA Mr. "That's a game we thought we probably should have had". That being said, it's hard to blame Fleury for the losses, especially since the Capitals have outshot the Penguins in every game so far.
For the Capitals, that means more production from Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and strong goaltending from Braden Holtby when the puck drops against the Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) for the chance to meet the Ottawa Senators in the East final. As one-sided as the past couple games have been, the Capitals are ultimately trying to win that "coin toss" a third time in a row.
"Yeah, yeah. Pretty standard", Crosby said. "So you're going to see their best game and their most desperate game of the series". A week ago, seats began to empty with several minutes remaining, before the Pens came back to force OT. It is insane seeing a hockey player with a history of concussions returning to a game five days after being diagnosed with a concussion, especially in this day and age where we have a wealth of knowledge regarding head trauma in sports.