Cam Tucker

Capitals offensive attack erupts to extend series vs. Penguins


The Capitals are still alive.

They have extended this series to a sixth game thanks to a 4-2 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

On home ice for Game 5, the Capitals were 20 minutes away from another sudden, disappointing departure from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round against the rival Penguins — and all of the critical questions, second guessing, difficult decisions and possibly some very significant changes that can follow such a result.

The Penguins, with Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary back in the lineup after missing the last game due to concussions, held the lead going into the third period. They had stifled the Capitals in the second period. It was hardly exciting, but it did, up until then at least, have the desired impact.

As a result, they were on the verge of eliminating the Capitals and doing so in front of the Washington fans, which certainly would’ve added further insult to an organization that has been unable to escape the discussion about its past playoff failures.

Then, from almost out of nowhere, the Capitals offense erupted. Those star players that coach Barry Trotz was demanding more from emphatically answered the call.

The depth of their offensive attack had been lacking in terms of production, but that changed for at least one night with a two-point effort from Andre Burakovsky, who halted his playoff scoring drought at 10 games and his playoff point drought at six games.

Nicklas Backstrom started the onslaught. He beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot under his left arm. That tied the game 2:49 into the third period. The Capitals were just getting started. Evgeny Kuznetsov followed that up less than five minutes later with the go-ahead goal and Alex Ovechkin increased Washington’s lead just 27 seconds later.

That’s Ovechkin’s second goal of this series. He had a difficult performance in Game 4 and admitted as much afterwards. He responded with an inspired third period that also included a shot off the post.

The Capitals finally found an answer to Fleury. They had outplayed the Penguins in the second half of Game 4 but couldn’t find that tying goal in large part because of the play of Pittsburgh’s goalie, who had a .937 save percentage entering Saturday’s contest.

Fleury had outplayed Braden Holtby at the other end in this series. But not in Game 5. Holtby, who had an underwhelming .867 save percentage through four games against the Penguins, was much better when his team absolutely needed it.

Game 6 goes Monday in Pittsburgh. The Penguins still lead the series. The Capitals still have plenty of work remaining if they are to pull off what would be a tremendous comeback.

But for the Capitals, this was a pretty good start.

Video: Capitals’ Burakovsky finally snaps playoff scoring drought

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There are many reasons why the Washington Capitals find themselves once again facing elimination against the Pittsburgh Penguins, down 3-1 in this series.

Among those reasons has been a lack of depth scoring from certain players in their lineup.

That includes 22-year-old Andre Burakovsky, who hadn’t scored a goal in this series or this post-season prior to Saturday, and hadn’t recorded a point in his last six games, dating back to the opening round versus Toronto.

Burakovsky finally snapped his scoring drought, beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a quick wrist shot on the blocker side. Nice shot, but an even better toe-drag move — talk about patience — to set up the shot.

The Capitals needed that goal, too.

Needing a win to extend the series back to Pittsburgh, the Capitals trailed the Penguins 1-0 until the Burakovsky goal with 30 seconds remaining in the period, despite shot totals and puck possession once again favoring Washington.

Sidney Crosby returns to Penguins lineup for Game 5


The Pittsburgh Penguins will get a huge boost to their lineup, as they look to eliminate the Washington Capitals in Game 5 at Verizon Center.

Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary missed Game 4 due to concussions but it has been announced that both forwards will be in the lineup for the Penguins in Saturday’s contest, having passed baseline tests prior to this game.

Despite missing Crosby and Sheary in Game 4, the Penguins had a great start, got some luck in the second period and then held on to defeat the Capitals, sending this series back to Washington with a 3-1 lead and a chance to once again knock out the Presidents’ Trophy winners in the second round.

WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Capitals

Here’s a look at the Penguins’ forward combinations during the pre-game skate.

Prior to his injury early in Game 3, Crosby had been having a terrific post-season. He had been particularly strong with four points through the opening two games of this series.

Senators complete another crazy comeback to defeat Rangers in OT


Another comeback overtime win has the Ottawa Senators on the verge of making the Eastern Conference Final.

Kyle Turris didn’t have a four-goal performance like his teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau did exactly one week ago, but he played the overtime hero by beating Henrik Lundqvist with a shot under the left pad to give Ottawa a 5-4 victory and a 3-2 series lead.

The Senators trailed 2-0 early in the first period. They gave up a late goal to Jimmy Vesey — his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal, just getting the puck over the goal line on a play that initially looked like a tremendous Craig Anderson glove save — to spot the Rangers yet another lead.

But just like they did a week ago, the Senators conjured the magic for yet another thrilling comeback. Derick Brassard tied it on a crazy scramble in front of Lundqvist with under 1:30 left in regulation, setting up the stage for the Turris winner — a play that, of course, was reviewed for a potential offside.

The review didn’t last very long as officials quickly deemed it was a good goal, determining that Turris had control of the puck as he entered the zone.

Ottawa can clinch the series Tuesday in New York. The Senators certainly didn’t look good on the road earlier in this series, outscored 8-2 in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Chris Neil jumps Tanner Glass


Tanner Glass was getting the penalty, and the Ottawa Senators were getting a power play in the second period of a pivotal Game 5.

That was until Chris Neil, playing for only the second time since the end of February, decided to rush in, drop the gloves and grab Glass, taking him to the ice — a decision that took Ottawa off the upcoming power play.

The incident occurred after Glass, the Rangers forward, drilled Dion Phaneuf with a massive, late hit behind the net. Neil took exception and made a beeline for Glass, as mayhem ensued.

Neil was given a roughing minor and a misconduct.