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Instant analysis: Capitals at Penguins, Game 6

Pittsburgh overcomes Washington's third-period rally, wins in OT to advance to East Final

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday. The Penguins won the best-of-7 series 4-2 to advance to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference final.

Nick Bonino scored off a rebound 6:32 into overtime to give the Penguins the series-clinching victory after they blew a three-goal lead.

The Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead by 7:38 into the second period with two goals from Phil Kessel and one from Carl Hagelin. The Capitals rallied with goals from T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams to pull within one, and then tied it on John Carlson's 5-on-3 power-play goal with 6:59 left in regulation.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Kessel, Hagelin each score PPGs

What we learned: After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Penguins showed resilience by regrouping and pulling out the victory in overtime. They lost their composure some in the third period by taking four consecutive penalties, including three for delay of game, puck over the glass.

Kessel was dominant in Game 6 and had two goals and four assists in the series. His line with Hagelin (three goals, four assists) and Bonino (two goals, three assists) combined for 18 points in the six games.

Williams lived up to his clutch reputation by scoring a goal and assisting on Carlson's tying goal. In 19 career Stanley Cup Playoff elimination games, he has 14 goals and 12 assists.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Williams roofs one over Murray

What this means for the Capitals: After winning the Presidents' Trophy and setting their record with 56 victories during the regular season, the Capitals again fell short of expectations in the playoffs. Despite showing great heart Tuesday, they face another offseason of questions about why they have not advanced beyond the second round since their lone Stanley Cup Final appearance, in 1998.

What this means for the Penguins: They'll play in the conference final for the first time since 2013. They went 0-2-1 against the Lightning during the regular season. Their only previous postseason meeting came in the first round in 2011; Tampa Bay rallied from down 3-1 to win that series in seven games.

Key moment: Bonino knocked in the rebound of Hagelin's shot for the overtime winner. The Penguins had buzzed around the Capitals net from the start of overtime and finally were rewarded when Bonino backhanded the puck in from in front. Washington goalie Braden Holtby made a right pad save on Hagelin's initial shot.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Bonino buries rebound to clinch series

Unsung player of the game: Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta played well in his return after missing three games with an upper-body injury from a late, high hit from Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik in Game 2. Maatta played 17:57 and assisted on Hagelin's power-play goal that made it 3-0.

What's next: The Penguins and Lightning await the schedule for the start of the conference final.

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