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The Capitals looked the prospect of going quietly into that goodnight squarely in the eye and said, "eff that," staving off elimination with a 3-1 victory to force a Game 6. The Capitals looked sharp liked Cutco knives from top to bottom, and the momentum swings back to Penn's Woods on Tuesday.
Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: The revamped top line of T.J. Oshie - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Alex Ovechkin utterly overwhelmed the Pittsburgh Penguins and warmed the cockles of my cold, comatose hockey heart.
- Minus: With Brooks Orpik returning next game, Barry Trotz will have some tough decisions to make on the blue line. But having to gameplan for a Game 6 is a good problem to have, and means they did something right tonight.
And now, this...
Grass is green. https://t.co/7Hq4nEz7AB— FatouFIERCE (@FatouSadio) May 8, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- This game got off to a firewagon start, with the captain Alex Ovechkin blasting home an utter bunkerbuster on the power play from his usual office, and giving the Caps an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Ovechkin's 13th career playoff PPG, tying him for most in Capitals franchise history with the great Peter Bondra.
- Mere disappointing moments later, like your first post-Prom sexual encounter, Chris Kunitz stuffed home some garbage on the doorstep and tied the game 1-1 for the Penguins. It was the Penguins first PPG of the series.
- The second period began with bated breath, at least until bona fide American hero T.J. Oshie played a wicked rendition of God Bless America in the key of Goal. He punched home a booming Ovechkin rebound to give the Caps a 2-1 lead on the power play. It was the first time the Penguins have surrendered two PPGs in one game in the 2016 playoffs.
- Six minutes later, at the exact halfway point of the game, Justin Williams punished the Penguins for a turnover like a kinky coach. Williams pulled the trigger and ripped one through Matt Murray's wickets, giving the Caps a 3-1 lead and placing his foot squarely in the mouth of your queued up "Mr. Game 5" joke.
- How about those off-season offensive acquisitions? Goals for both Oshie and Williams to keep the Caps' season alive places both them and GM Brian MacLellan firmly in the category of #bae. Or, if you prefer, "Gentlemen of Fine Breeding."
- That would be enough, and the Capitals held on to force the series back to Pittsburgh for a Game 6.
- Surprising absolutely no one familiar with the sport of hockey in the year 2016, Braden Holtby had another stand-out headstand game. Big Holts saved 30 of 31 shots for a .968 save percentage. Here's a sample of some of his maneuverable hors d'oeuvres.
- Matt Murray, previously unconfirmed werepossum, looked decidedly mortal on the other hand. Murray went 16-for-19 for a .842 save percentage.
- The re-worked TKO top line of Oshie-Kuznetsov-Ovechkin was voracious and great all night. They got after the puck and the Penguins like stink on Pittsburgh.
- Sidney Crosby had one assist and three hits, which is surprising. Alex Ovechkin had one goal, one assist, and three hits, which is not surprising.
https://t.co/3GRjWDoFM2#Ovi SCORE!!!!!#Caps up 1-0 #CapsPens— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 7, 2016
https://t.co/sltJBBj5im#Pens tie the game up 1-1#CapsPens— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 7, 2016
https://t.co/Rf1VAC4hoJ#Oshie tips the rebound past #Murray #Caps up 2-1 #CapsPens— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 8, 2016
#Williams makes it 3-1 #CapsPens https://t.co/wlThso7aec— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 8, 2016
#Holtby with two MONSTER saveshttps://t.co/vxJiqtAzde#CapsPens 3-1— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) May 8, 2016
Take that, looming spectre of doom! Not today! There's still more hockey to be played this season. Game 6 will be Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, so pack your mustard bibs and your kevlar athletic cups, and let's get back to work. Do call it a comeback.