Columbus jumped to a 2-0 series lead with two overtime wins in Washington and looked poised to advance to the second round for the first time in playoff series.
Round 1 Strengths for Pittsburgh: As the highest-scoring team in Round 1, offence was a strength for the Penguins, although a large chunk of that can be attributed to the weak goaltending in Philadelphia's net. This year's matchup will mark the 11th time these two teams will meet in the playoffs.
So, how did Washington turn a potential early exit into a trip to the second round?
Players like Alexander Wennberg, who spent most of the series injured, Thomas Vanek and the bottom six guys went missing. Both set franchise scoring records for defensemen with 16 goals apiece. But the headline-grabber wasn't Ovechkin.
The story for the Blue Jackets in the four-game stretch was their power-play futility. After surrendering just two goals in Game 3 and one in Game 4, Columbus managed to score three in each of the next two. His performance had shifted the offensive tide.
The Blue Jackets rely heavily on their top line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson to produce, and they did just that in the first three games.
Sergei Bobrovsky - Columbus' goaltender allowed five goals on 27 shots in a 6-3 Game Six loss to Washington.
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Heading into this series, we knew Washington could hold a major advantage in special teams.
Ovechkin appears to have come to the conclusion that fair or not, his legacy is going affected by his team's playoffs successes and failures.
But it all started to get back on track in 2018 - Pittsburgh was 13th in goals against from January 1 onwards, and became a top 10 team in even strength goals in the 2018 portion of the schedule with Murray improving to a.912 save percentage in the second half as well. "It's kind of hard to accept that as a hockey player and as a competitor, but we're going to work to fix it". If there was any reason why Columbus is out of the playoffs, it surely is not due to the play of Bobrovsky.
Tuesday morning, RMNB was forwarded multiple copies of an email campaign the Capitals sent out to season-ticket plan holders.
It could also be advisable to play Joonas Korpisalo more next season so that Bobrovsky is better rested for the playoffs. He put up two goals (including the overtime-winner in Game 1) and seven points. "That surprised me a little bit how well, how good it is this city loves the Blue Jackets".
But that wasn't the case. Grubauer was shaky in the first couple of games - looking particularly bad in Game 2 - and so the Caps made a change. The Penguins have faced Washington half of the 22 occasions they've made the postseason in that span.
Mitch Marner continues to make a difference in the postseason. They took advantage of their chances, especially on the power play. To ensure "an wonderful atmosphere" at Capital One Arena, the Capitals are forbidding the pre-sale tickets to be resold. From that point on the old Braden Holtby was back. Prior to the start of this post-season, Holtby's.932 SP in the playoffs was the second-best mark among the 33 goaltenders to play at least 25 post-season games in the post-lockout era, and there wasn't a single active netminder ahead of him.