There will be no redemption for the cursed Capitals.
In the seventh game, Washington was done in again by the scripture it came so desperately close to debunking. Marc-Andre Fleury’s 29 saves and myriad missed opportunities led to a 2-0 Penguins victory, the defending champs reaching the Eastern Conference finals for a second consecutive year after advancing through the nation’s capital.
There was some optimism this year might have been different, but that notion was laid to rest about four minutes into the third period when Patric Hornqvist caught Braden Holtby off guard on a turnover and gave the Pens a two-goal lead that might as well have been 20-0.
Holtby, dumbfounded, never saw the backhand flutter past him and stood motionless as the hockey world already knew the outcome. The Capitals managed just five shots on goal after that two came in the game’s final minute and went out with a whimper.
History, after all, had this one wrapped up before it began cheap hockey jerseys.
Pick your stat: The Capitals have now lost seven of 10 Game 7s in the Ovechkin era twice at the hands of the rival Penguins. Pittsburgh improved to 6-0 all time in Game 7s on the road. Washington hasn’t been to the conference finals since 1998.
The Capitals had the Penguins on the ropes having played a flawless four periods entering Game 7, erasing a three-games-to-one deficit. For a few minutes wholesale hockey authentic jerseys in the first period Wednesday, it appeared as though it might be more of the same. Washington dominated possession but either Fleury or puck luck quashed all chances,
Fleury had allowed nine goals on 58 shots in Game 5 and 6 losses after nine on 142 shots the first four games of the series.
Fleury did this once before, stopping Ovechkin on a breakaway in 2009’s Game 7 as the Pens went on to capture the Stanley Cup, setting the tone for the Capitals’ misfortune. Then there was Jaroslav Halak stopping 41 of 42 shots in 2010 and a trifecta against the Rangers in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
The laundry list of Game 7 disappointments run for the Caps, but a 2-0 shutout on home ice may top them all.
2. Bryan Rust, Penguins Rust hadn’t scored all series, but got the first goal of the game for his fifth of the playoffs. You’ll remember it was Rust who scored both Penguins goals when they edged the Lightning in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals. He now has nine points (8 goals, 1 assist) in 12 career playoff elimination games.
1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins Fleury’s shutout was cheap hockey retro nhl t shirts the first of this postseason and the ninth of his playoff career. It’s the 10th road shutout in NHL Game 7 history.