COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Washington Capitals can now focus on the Pittsburgh Penguins and take revenge for some disappointments in the playoffs.
The Capitals won four consecutive games over Columbus Blue Jackets after losing the first two overtime at home, limiting their first-round playoff series with a 6-3 victory Monday night in Game 6.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including his 50th postseason goal, and Braden Holtby had 35 saves to lift the Capitals, who never lost after winning overtime in Game 5 on Saturday. After Ovechkin's goals in the second period, Washington never gave up a two-goal lead. Four of the games in the series were overtime.
The Capitals will move back to the semifinals of the conference after being eliminated by Pittsburgh in the second round in each of the last two seasons.
"I think we achieved what we thought we could do at the beginning of the series," said Holtby, who relieved Philipp Grubauer in Game 2 and was great the rest of the way. "We will enjoy it a little bit, rest and prepare for the next one".
Washington coach, Barry Trotz, did not want to talk about Pittsburgh yet.
"Please let me breathe," he said. "We have not breathed since this started."
Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, and Dimitry Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller also told Washington on Monday that he was never in the game after prevailing. in overtime in Game 5 on Saturday. The Capitals won each of the three games in Columbus.
"I know that on the way it seems that for some reason we are focused, we are motivated," noted Washington forward T.J. Oshie said. "It seems we almost like it when the crowd of an opposing team comes in. It almost sets us off, too, and it makes you want to calm them down."
The history of the Blue Jackets in the four-game stretch was their futility game of power. After going 4 for 8 with a man advantage in the first two games, the Blue Jackets were 0 for 16 in the last four.
"At the beginning of the series, our power play was underway," said Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, who scored twice on Monday. "We were scoring at will, for some reason, it went dry, we have to realize"
Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost in the first round of the playoffs by second consecutive season and fourth time in general. They are still the only active franchise in the NHL that never wins a playoff series.
The Capitals attacked again on Monday night.
Shortly after Holtby stopped a bombing of Columbus, Orlov got his first objective of the series when he skated in the section and revolvió a slapping on the side of the glove of Bobrovsky being 7:48 in the first.
Foligno got his first playoff game in the middle of the second when he shot beyond Holtby from the right circle. That happened shortly after the Blue Jackets survived the overlapping penalties, including 32 seconds of a 5-on-3.
Ovechkin recovered a bounce from a shot from Brooks Orpik to put the 2-1 with 7:10 to play in the second, the 50th career tiebreaker of the Russian star. He then gave the Caps a two-goal lead with a one-turn counter on the left circle in a power play.
The Blue Jackets adjusted it to 3-2 at the beginning of the third when Dubois connected. But Smith-Pelly increased the advantage of the capitals again 91 seconds later. Stevenson had a goal in hand 1 1/2 minutes later to fill it.
Foligno put the Blue Jackets in 5-3 at 8:22 in the third, but Columbus could not get close. Eller added an empty net goal with 14 seconds remaining.
"It was a war out there," said Trotz. "It was a really strong series for them, and it forced us to the limit with security."
NOTES: Washington is the first team in NHL history to win a playoff series after losing each of the first two home games in over time. … Washington again kept the best Blue Jackets player, Artemi Panarin, off the score sheet after he had two goals and five assists in the first three postseason games … The Blue Jackets are 2-8 in home in four postseason appearances. … Ovechkin had five goals in the playoff series.
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