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game recap

Capitals advance with Game 6 win against Blue Jackets

Ovechkin scores two goals to help clinch Eastern series; will face Penguins next

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Washington Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round with a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 6 of the first round at Nationwide Arena on Monday.

Washington won the best-of-7 series 4-2 after losing the first two games at home in overtime. The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

After the two home losses, the Capitals won the next two in Columbus, including a double overtime victory in Game 3. The fourth OT of the series was also won by the Capitals, 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Blue Jackets highlights | Complete Capitals vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

"This series was very fun to play and very fun to watch," said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored twice, including his 50th career Stanley Cup Playoff goal. "It was lots of hockey. A bit unlucky in the first two overtimes. We got lucky in the third one. In overtime, no one knows."

Dmitri Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson and Lars Eller scored for the Capitals. Braden Holtby made 35 saves.

"He stepped in and did a great job," Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said of Holtby, who replaced Philipp Grubauer at the start of the third period in Game 2. "We put (Grubauer) in some tough situations before that, but Holtby came in and did an unbelievable job."

Nick Foligno scored twice, Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have never won a playoff series.

"I was not expecting the outcome to be the way it was tonight," Foligno said.

Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm6: Ovechkin buries one-timer for PPG

Dubois made it 3-2 at 2:25 of third period before Smith-Pelly skated alone down the left wing and scored on a slap shot at 3:56 for a 4-2 lead.

Stephenson made it 5-2 at 5:30 with a shorthanded goal.

Foligno scored at 8:22 from the slot to make it 5-3, but the Blue Jackets could not get any closer.

"It was tough to recover. They were pretty stingy through the series how well they defended," said Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who guaranteed a Game 7 after Columbus won Game 5.

Eller scored into an empty net at 19:46 for the 6-3 final.

"We've grown up in some way." Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We understand our core group is really, really strong. They believe in each other."

Video: #ThirstForTheCup: Capitals advance to Second Round

The Capitals got the first goal for the fifth time when Orlov scored at 12:12 of the first period with a shot from the high slot.

"We chased it the whole series. It's tough to play that way," Tortorella said.

Foligno tied it 1-1 at 8:40 of the second after successive penalty kills that saw the Capitals receive a 5-on-3 for 32 seconds.

He got his first goal of the series with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 8:40 of the second period, but Ovechkin made it 2-1 at 12:50. He then scored a power-play goal from the left face-off circle at 18:23 to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead.

Three of Ovechkin's five goals in the series were scored on the power play.

"You can't give the puck to [Ovechkin]," Calvert said. "We did that too many times in this series and it cost us."

Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm6: Orlov rips slap shot by Bobrovsky

 

Goal of the game

Smith-Pelly's goal at 3:56 of the third period.

Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm6: Smith-Pelly wires home far-side wrister

 

Save of the game

Holtby against Cam Atkinson at 18:04 of the third period.

Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm6: Holtby makes late save on Atkinson

 

Highlight of the game

Ovechkin's goal at 12:50 of the second period.

Video: WSH@CBJ, Gm6: Ovechkin backhands in rebound

 

They said it

"They put on really good period of hockey, one of the hardest periods of hockey I've played. Credit to them, they were coming. They were working like they didn't want an end to their season. They pushed us." -- Capitals goalie Braden Holtby

 

"The better team won. They made bigger plays at key times. Our power play started well, faded a bit. Theirs got better." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

 

Need to know

The Capitals won a series after trailing 2-0 for the second time; the first was the 2009 Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers, when they also lost the first two games at home. … The Capitals were 9-for-27 on the power play (33 percent) in the series and scored at least once with the man-advantage in each game. The Blue Jackets scored on seven of their first 13 power plays, but were held without a goal in their final 17 opportunities, including 0-for-4 in Game 6. … Columbus is 2-8 at home in the playoffs all-time. … The Blue Jackets are 1-3 all-time in elimination games at home.

 

What's next

Capitals: Game 1 of Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, TBD

Blue Jackets: Season over

 

Video: Ovechkin scores twice, Caps eliminate Blue Jackets

 

***

 

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