For the first time ever, an Alexander Ovechkin Capitals team has both advanced past the NHL’s second round and beaten the Sidney Crosby Penguins in a playoff series. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the Game 6 series-ender in overtime, breaking the teams’ 1-1 tie off a turnover stolen by Ovechkin and passed across center ice for a breakaway goal.
The battle tonight was a bit sloppy yet extremely thrilling, as Washington’s Alex Chiasson and Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang traded goals in the second period for the only regulation blemishes on Matt Murray and Braden Holtby’s records. Kuznetsov himself actually looked like a potential goat after deeply fucking up a golden opportunity late in the second, but obviously made amends with his winner.
The Penguins loss means that they become the fifth straight NHL team not to go beyond the second round after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, and the New York Islanders of the early ’80s remain the last team to capture a three-peat. The Capitals, meanwhile, are the first Washington sports team to make any kind of “conference finals” since they also did so in 1998. They’ll face the Lightning in round three.