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Capitals vs. Penguins Game 5 Recap: Don't Fear the Reaper - Caps Win 3-1

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The Washington Capitals fought off the reaper, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Game 5 in Washington to force a Game 6 on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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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...

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.

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.

Game highlights: