Washington Capitals (56-28-8-1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (53-34-4-2)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, May 7, 2018
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Caps Bag Crucial Home Win
The Washington Capitals (7-4) did exactly what they had to do, taking a 3-2 series lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins on own ice after beating the visitors with a count of 6-3 at Capital One Arena on Saturday. Jakub Vrana (2 goals, 5 points during the current postseason) netted the winner with 4:38 remaining in the third period when the Caps battled back from a 3-2 deficit by scoring four markers, including two empty-netters. John Carlson (3 goals, 11 points), Brett Connolly (2 goals, 3 points), Evgeny Kuznetsov (6 goals, 13 points), T.J. Oshie (5 goals, 8 points) and Lars Eller (3 goals, 7 points) all found the back of the net.
Goalie Braden Holtby made 36 saves, taking his current performance status to 7-3 for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2.16 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He has now gone 36-33 in all of his previous postseason appearances combined with a 2.02 GAA and a .931 save percentage and, prior to the ongoing playoffs, had recorded an 8-9-2 career total against Pittsburgh with a 2.90 GAA and a .911 save percentage. The Capitals, meanwhile, are tied-2nd with the Pens in most goals scored per game this postseason (3.73), while conceding the 6th lowest quantity in their defensive zone (2.82). They are 2nd best in power play with a 31.7% success rate and 8th in penalty kill with 78.6% proficiency.
Penguins Find No Luck In D.C.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (6-5) lost their second consecutive road game after going 3-2 down in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Washington Capitals following a 6-3 defeat at Capital One Arena on Saturday. It was the first time in five years the Pens allowed six strikes in a playoff outing, as the hosts rallied from a 3-2 second-period deficit with a four-goal performance in the final third. Jamie Oleksiak (1 goal, 1 point during the current postseason) opened the scoring 2:23 minutes into the contest, while Sidney Crosby (9 goals, 20 points) and Patric Hornqvist (5 goals, 11 points) netted in the middle session during power plays after the Capitals entered the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Goalie Matt Murray stopped 26 shots and has now gone 6-5 for the ongoing playoffs with a 2.49 GAA and a .905 save percentage. He has recorded a 28-14 career total in all past postseason outings put together with a 2.09 GAA and a .923 save percentage and was 4-4-0 against Washington historically ahead of the current playoff campaign with a 3.66 GAA and a .882 save percentage. The Penguins, meanwhile, are tied-2nd with the Caps in most goals netted per game this postseason (3.73), 10th in most goals allowed on average (2.91), 7th in power play with a 23.3% return and 4th in penalty kill with 82.9% efficiency.
- Capitals are 2-7 in their last 9 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Capitals are 4-9 in the last 13 meetings in Pittsburgh.
- Penguins are 98-35 in their last 133 home games.
- Penguins are 41-17 in their last 58 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Penguins are 36-15 in their last 51 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
The Capitals are on the verge of making their first Conference Final since 1998. They are, however, very likely to have to wait for that opportunity in Game 7, as there is no way the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions will be taking this crucial fixture lightly. The Pens have already beaten Washington in nine of the past 13 meetings in Pittsburgh and will be facing a team, which has really struggled after big victories – the Caps have managed to triumph in just two of their last nine contests after netting five or more goals in their previous game…