Penguins finally run out of steam as championship reign ends

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After battling back from trailing by two goals in the third period for a 3-2 win in Game 1, Pittsburgh didn't have much success late in games as the series progressed. And he was proved correct.

PITTSBURGH — Evgeny Kuznetsovs breakway goal 5:27 into overtime gave the Capitals a 2-1 win over the Penguins in Game 6 on Monday night, and a berth in the Eastern Conference final for the first time in 20 years.

That type of confidence was needed for Washington to overcome their struggles against Pittsburgh in the past. The Capitals won the series and will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference final series.

Washington spent the series saying its forgettable playoff history littered with squandered leads and blown opportunities - particularly against the Penguins - is not a factor.

"I heard the reaction of the crowd and saw on the Jumbotron that it hit the post, so that was unfortunate", said Kuhnhackl, who described it as "bitter, disappointing".

This marks the first time that the Capitals have made it out of the second round in the Ovechkin era, and the first time a D.C. sports team has made it to a conference final since the Caps did it in 1998.

Washington is in the Eastern Conference finals for just the third times in team history, the last being in 1997-98 when it beat the Buffalo Sabres and then lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. That this time is different. We left it all on the ice.

At least the Capitals put themselves in position for playoff heartbreak. The victor moves on to meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final.

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Winnipeg has never been this far.

Game 6 feels like a decent microcosm of the series as a whole.

Not that the Jets want to talk about it. "Now we have a big job ahead of us here with Tampa". "I thought our window had closed and we had an old team and we had five rookies".

The Predators, unlike the Jets, have been here before. The few chances we had, we had some good forecheck pressure but to get inside you really had to work, " Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said. The Game Six win marked the first time Ovechkin had beaten Crosby in the postseason.

It's a feeling long familiar in Washington.

The theories abound why this Capitals team - which wasn't the most talented group they've had in the postseason - was the one to break through.

The Capitals played without center Nicklas Backstrom, who was scratched due to a right hand injury suffered in the third period of Washington's Game 5 victory. "I know it's thrown in Ovi's face everywhere he turns, and he's a great player in this league". So we're trying to check them off.

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