The Washington Capitals aren’t out of the woods yet. Not even close.
Sure, they were able to stave off elimination in a must-win Game 5 on home ice Saturday, led by two great performances from Alex Ovechkin, who was able to solve rookie puck stopper Matt Murray early on, and goalie Braden Holtby, but they still need two more victories to win the series against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold a 3-2 lead.
The NHL’s top regular season team is still alive.
“It was a fun game today,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told reporters. “Coming to the rink, I said to our coaches, ‘We’re winning tonight, there’s no question.’ You can tell with our team. We get a sense of that.
“They responded. I had never any doubt that they weren’t going to respond.”
Ovechkin had a two-point night, including the game’s opening goal. Justin Williams took advantage of a bad giveaway for an even strength insurance goal for Washington.
Holtby was also very good, stopping 30 of 31 shots faced, as the Penguins held a decisive edge in shots on goal throughout the evening.
The Capitals’ power play came through, scoring twice on five chances. That includes capitalizing after Penguins defenseman Ian Cole took a slash against Tom Wilson, leading to Washington’s eventual winning goal 1:06 later.
“Our team has had success because we’ve had discipline and playing the game the right way. When you play a team like Washington that has a power play that’s as good as it is, you can’t give it an opportunity to be a difference,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said.
“I think for long stretches of the game, we were the better team. I thought we had the puck more. I thought we controlled territory. I thought five-on-five, our play was pretty strong.”