The Capitals lived to see another day thanks to a Game 5 win on Saturday night in DC. With 20 minutes to go and their season on the line, the Caps ripped off three unanswered goals much to the delight of the Verizon Center faithful. Now, they head back to Pittsburgh in a scenario similar to last year, trailing the series 3-2. Washington will look to rewrite history with a win Monday night by sending the series back to Verizon Center for Game 7.
The Capitals entered their last game with a glaring player swap between the first and third lines. Team captain Alex Ovechkin moved to the third line while Andre Burakovsky was on the top line. It turned out that this line switch would pay dividends.
The Capitals trailed 1-0 early on until Burakovsky tallied his first goal of the playoffs. After the Penguins regained the lead in the second, the Capitals headed into their second intermission knowing that their season was on the brink. In the final period, the biggest leaders of the team produced. Nicklas Backstrom tied it early in the third.
About five minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ovechkin scored two goals that were just 27 seconds apart to take the lead for good.
The Capitals led 66-52 in shot attempts and 51-42 during 5-on-5 play. They also had 36 scoring chances while the Penguins had 24. They need to improve in faceoffs and the power play if they want to take control of Game 6.
Sidney Crosby and Connor Sheary both suited up for Game 5 looking to end the Caps’ season on their home ice. It looked good for them early with the first goal scored by Carl Hagelin and when they took the lead once again in the second with a goal by Phil Kessel. Following that, things didn’t quite go as planned.
While the Penguins were outshot and had less scoring chances, it didn’t stop them from putting together a fury of shots towards the end. Unlike Games 1-4, however, Braden Holtby was giving them fits. In the faceoffs department the Pens won 61% of their faceoffs while the Capitals only had a success rate of 39%.
The Penguins also have done well on the penalty kill. The Capitals are a combined 0-for-7 on the power play between Games 4 and 5.
- Since he made his NHL playoff debut in 2007-08, Alex Ovechkin has scored five or more goals in the postseason seven times, ranking first in the league.
- Braden Holtby stopped 20 of 22 shots in Game 5 against Pittsburgh to earn his franchise-leading 28th career playoff win.
- Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin both scored a goal in Game 5, marking the 13th time they have scored a goal in the same playoff game. The only other pairs of active NHL players who have scored goals in the same playoff game at least 13 times are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (14) and Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture (13).
LAST TIME WE MET
After a Comeback Win in Game 5, Improvements Must Be Made for Game 6
Capitals vs Penguins – Game 5 Stats and Analysis
Capitals Beat Penguins 4-2, Force Game 6
Penguins Beat Capitals 3-2, Push Caps to the Brink
Capitals Beat Penguins 3-2 (OT), Pens Now Lead Series 2-1
Penguins Clobber Capitals 6-2, Take 2-0 Series Lead
Penguins Beat Capitals 3-2, Take 1-0 Series Lead
By Michael Marzzacco