Game 6 Loss Ends Blue Jackets' Season

Despite being down 2-0 in the series, the Washington Capitals rebounded to win four straight games and take the first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wild have split with longtime general manager Chuck Fletcher after the team's first-round playoff exit at the hands of Winnipeg.

So, how did Washington turn a potential early exit into a trip to the second round? "Like, don't get me wrong, those series went the distance, they went to overtime".

Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, and Dimitry Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller also tallied Monday for Washington, which never trailed in the game after prevailing in extra time in Game 5 on Saturday. But the headline-grabber wasn't Ovechkin.

Only 91 seconds after rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois made it 3-2, however, Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky allowed a backbreaking goal that sent 18,667 fans back down in their seats with a groan.

Since being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade July 1, 2015, Kessel has played a Penguins-high 888:40 on the power play and leads them with 89 points (24 goals, 65 assists) with the man-advantage. His performance had shifted the offensive tide.

Well, we are about to see it for the fourth time and third time in the last three seasons.

"(Who wins) depends on what you do in (this) series and how you play", Crosby said.

Then "Alexander the Great" got going. Four of the games in the series went to overtime.

The thing is, it's not all that uncommon for Ovechkin to produce when crunch time comes around in a series.

"It was deflating", Matt Calvert said. And with players as talented as Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson on the first powerplay unit, it is hard to understand how they failed to score at least a single powerplay goal throughout the series. They won the series, 4-2.

The start time of Game 1 of the Second Round series between the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators has been set for 8 p.m. ET on Friday, April 27, in Nashville. That's fine by Pittsburgh, which has played Lucy to Washington's Charlie Brown for more than a quarter century, dangling a potentially deep playoff run in front of the Capitals only to pull it back at the last minute.

When he put up a.925 SP through the first three games against the Capitals, however, Bobrovsky was looking as though he could be a difference-maker in the series. But it didn't matter because the Blue Jackets lost to the Capitals anyway. We know he can get the Capitals past a first-round opponent. No problem wearing that. The teams split their four meetings during the regular season, with the Capitals wrapping up their third straight Metropolitan Division title with a 3-1 win in Pittsburgh on April Fool's Day. Frankly, it seemed like a relative no-brainer to go with Grubauer. After Pittsburgh opened the series with a 7-0 drubbing of the Flyers, Philadelphia responded in fine fashion. That led to the switch in goal for Washington, and Holtby's play changed the complexion of the series. But in the final three games, he laid a goose egg.

This is old hat for Holtby, of course, and maybe this was an instance where history shouldn't have been ignored.

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  • Steve Townsend