This is the one we didn’t want to have to write. At least if we were going to have to write it, we hoped it would be in the final round for the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Caps. Despite the amazing regular season, the end came in Pittsburgh in overtime.
It started as another do or die game for the guys from Washington. The team remained positive and pumped to bring the series back to Verizon Center for a Game 7. We believed they could do it after their win in Game
Early in the first period, a terrible turnover by Kris Letang provided a scoring chance for Mike Richards–just a chance. Matt Niskanen did he best at defense, making sure that the Penguins did not great a scoring chance on Holtby.
The Capitals played well for the first five minutes but it was Phil Kessel who opened the scoring. Daniel Winnik took a puck to the mouth but he returned to the game a few minutes later. Karl Alzner did not play the end of the first period after he got slashed from Sidney Crosby. Yea – no penalty…
The period ended 1-0. Although the score was not what Caps fans wanted after one period, the Capitals actually played a decent round and were fairly well matched against the Pens.
Going into the second, the Capitals really needed to stop passing so much and just constantly shoot the puck at Matt Murray. In the sorta good news category, Karl Alzner returned for the start of the second but only played a little over five minutes for the night.
Brooks Orpik, who was playing his first game back from a three-game suspension, took a four-minute hi-sticking penalty. Not what the Caps needed and boy did the Pens take advantage of it. They scored on both of the minors, 3-0 lead in the second.
It was not looking good for the road guys. The Capitals would get their first chance on the man advantage but could not get anything together. On their second power play, T.J. Oshie finally got the Capitals on the board. The Capitals went into the second intermission down two goals but they were not done yet.
The third started with a wonderful partial breakaway chance for Burakovsky but Murray stopped him. The Capitals showed more desperation in the beginning of the third. With 12:37 left, Justin Williams went high corner on Matt Murray and turned it into a one-goal game.
John Carlson, on the 5-on-3, tied up the game for the Caps with still have over a minute of power play time. And then something truly amazing happened: the Penguins took three consecutive delay of game penalties.
Then with less than three minutes left, Kris Letang put T.J. Oshie into the boards. Unfortunately, the Capitals did not score on the following power play. The teams were tied after 60 minutes of regulation.
Heading into OT, the Capitals had the urgency they had to get the game tied in the third period. But maybe not as much as they needed for overtime. After a few near misses for the Penguins it looked like the luck was on Washington’s side. But 6:32 into the extra session, Nick Bonino scored to eliminate the Washington Capitals from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Another second round exit and it is hard to come to terms with. The Capitals deserved better than this but here we are. We will always remember the 2015-16 season as a great one; it just did not end with the boys hoisting the silver cup we all believed was ours this year.
We are grabbing our tissues and heading to bed now. We’ll have more analysis about the playoffs and the regular season. Thanks to all of you who joined us on this journey.