Capitals rally past Penguins 5 to avoid elimination

"This is exactly it". Trailing 2-1 after two periods, he made two hard saves on Pittsburgh's Nick Bonino.

"We have to get back to a better brand of hockey for 60 minutes", Chris Kunitz said. We've got to do a better job executing, especially with the lead. "You build up all year and you work all year and all summer and all the weight-lifting and whatever it was to get to this spot, so I expect some big resolve and some desperation in our game tonight".

Andre Burakovsky also scored, and Braden Holtby stopped 20 shots in his finest game of the series.

"I liked our response going into the third period", coach Barry Trotz said.

In fact, this was the first time all postseason that the Washington Capitals bested their opponent in high-danger goals for, according to NaturalStatTrick.

Carl Hagelin gave the Penguins 1-0 lead in first period and Phil Kessel put them up 2-1 in the second. Washington has 30 chances and just 19 against at 5-on-5, good for a scoring chances for percentage of 61.2.

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Ovechkin, after his initial shot on the rush was blocked by defenseman Ron Hainsey, got the puck back and wristed it past Fleury for his fifth goal of the playoffs. Just two years ago, Kuznetsov's deployment was mostly sheltered to the offensive zone because Trotz didn't trust him yet. The Capitals should be able to continue to take the game to the Penguins, controlling possession and generating shots and chances against Fleury. As for the Penguins, they've only put 84 pucks on net at 5-on-5, which is far and away the fewest of any team in the second round, especially when you consider the Anaheim Ducks have fired almost twice as many in roughly 27 extra minutes of play. Capitals D Brooks Orpik appeared to shake his left hand after being slashed by Evgeni Malkin in the first period.

Burakovsky pumped some energy back in with a psychologically important goal with 29.7 seconds remaining in the first period, his first of the playoffs. "You always think, 'You know what, shoot every puck and every shot is a good shot.' You know, loads of pucks at the net".

The Caps aren't out of the woods yet, still trailing the series three games to two, but they beat Pittsburgh for the first time on their home ice in the series. But with the slightest bit of trepidation, I say it has to happen tonight to happen at all. It seems to get their head into it.

Winning three-straight against this Penguins team, one that lost three in a row only twice all season, was never going to be easy and needing to do so is an unenviable position to be in. "I don't think that's a demotion, I think that's making our team better". That's why we play 82 games. The Penguins went into the second intermission with a lead having won 37 of 39 games in that spot during the regular season and all six in the playoffs.

"We really liked him", McPhee said.

But no matter how this campaign ends, with Washington down three games to two going into Monday's Game 6 in Pittsburgh, Kuznetsov's play is assurance that the future of the franchise is still brimming with bird-flapping celebrations. Make sure to plan your schedules accordingly.

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