Capitals cough up three-goal lead, lose to Jets in OT

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If you ask me, it’s often unfair to say that a hockey team “choked.” Making such an accusation assumes that hockey is a sport where a lot isn’t left to chance; I think most of us can agree that largely isn’t the case. Still, it’s pretty tough to fight off the long-held criticisms of the Washington Capitals after a loss like this.

The team seemed like it would produce a slam-dunk win in a huge home game against the Winnipeg Jets as they took a 3-0 as Alex Ovechkin continued his hot streak with two of those goals. The Jets and Capitals stuck to the script after that, though, as Winnipeg was that “scrappy bunch” while Washington seemed like a bunch of chokers, coughing up a 3-0 lead to eventually lose 4-3 in overtime.

How do you explain a loss like this? Who gets the blame? Did Brooks Laich make a mistake by fighting Jim Slater in the second period?

All kinds of questions sprout up from a loss like this, but Washington must move on. If nothing else, they’ll get a charity point to keep them in the mix.

East update:

(With Ottawa Senators’ disturbing loss to the Montreal Canadiens, it seems relevant to include them in the mix now.)

7. Ottawa: 84 points, 32 regulation/OT wins and eight games left
8. Washington: 82 points, 35 regulation/OT wins and seven games left

9. Buffalo: 82 points, 29 regulation/OT wins and seven games left
10. Winnipeg: 78 points, 31 regulation/OT wins and eight games left

(Carolina and Toronto aren’t that far behind, but study the expanded standings to determine how much of a chance you believe they have.)

The Capitals did get their charity point, but this is obviously a huge confidence-builder for the Jets – especially since it came on the road. The Sabres are also obviously bigger winners with Washington’s loss; while Buffalo’s time in the eighth spot proved short-lived, they must be taken seriously as a threat for one of the final two playoff spots.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Sports Club Stats still gives Washington the edge for the eighth spot, but Buffalo definitely made a big jump on Friday.

Video: Senators make Penguins pay for penalties with 1-1 goal

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

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Another big goal from Malkin; another confusing goalie interference review

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The Ottawa Senators are ready for a fight in Game 6, which seemingly means that the Pittsburgh Penguins must grind for space and chances. So far, the Penguins are willing to do just that.

Being that this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also means that you need to shrug off setbacks … and the Penguins are doing well in that area, too.

After a 0-0 first period, it seemed like Trevor Daley scored a “greasy” 1-0 goal, but after a review, it was dismissed because of goalie interference. The crowd’s silent, confused response mirrored many on social media who genuinely don’t know what is or is not interference any longer.

The Penguins could have sulked after that near-goal. Instead, they just kept chipping away. Evgeni Malkin finally broke the ice – for real – with a gritty 1-0 tally. You can watch that ugly-pretty effort in the video above this post’s headline.

This marks Malkin’s seventh goal and 24th point of the postseason. No one else has reached 20 yet.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

* – 21st overall.

Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6