Through the first six games of their series with the Penguins, the Capitals were the superior team. They outshot the Pens by 11 shots per game through Game 6, and entered Game 7 on a high, winning the previous two games and scoring nine goals in the process.
Naturally, they faceplanted, just like they did last year.
One year to the day after getting booted by the Penguins in the second round, Washington ate it again. The three-time Presidents’ Trophy winners and heavy Stanley Cup favorites still have yet to make it past the second round during the Alex Ovechkin era. It wasn’t as painful as last year’s sudden-death loss, but the Caps repeatedly wasted opportunities while allowing two relatively cheap goals after turning the puck over.
This is not where you want to give the puck away.
Neither is this!
While the Capitals ceded that pair of goals to eager Penguins attackers, Marc-André Fleury shut down everything that came at him. The Pens backup goalie made 29 saves, including this beauty on an Ovechkin rocket.
T.J. Oshie had perhaps the best opportunity to put one past Fleury, but he blew an easy tapper right in front of a wide-open net.
Despite the efforts of Brooks Orpik, the Capitals never woke up, and their offseason came earlier than they expected once again. The Pens had no Kris Letang, no Matt Murray, and a version of Sidney Crosby that came with a rattled brain, and yet they still served the Capitals their destiny yet again. I can’t wait to see how they blow it next year.