The Washington Capitals' decade-long quest to reach the Eastern Conference Finals came up short again this season, as they were eliminated with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 on Tuesday.
Nick Bonino scored the game-winner to send the Penguins to the conference finals for the first time since 2012-13, when they were swept by the Boston Bruins. Date and times for their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning have yet to be announced.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has never advanced past the second round in the 11 years he's spent with the franchise.
It didn't take long for the Penguins to strike first on home ice. Winger Phil Kessel drove down the wing five minutes into the first period and fired a shot through the arm of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.
Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, fresh off a three-game suspension, fatefully found himself in the box midway through the second period for high-sticking. On the ensuing four-minute power play, the Penguins scored twice in 33 seconds. Kessel got his second of the game and fifth of the playoffs, and Carl Hagelin made good on his second scoring chance of the period to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead.
The Capitals finally got a bounce their way late in the frame. With their second power play of the game, T.J. Oshie settled in front of the net and fired a one-timer past Penguins goalie Matt Murray. Things got even more interesting midway through the third period when Justin Williams curled around the net, scored his third of the playoffs and made it a 3-2 game.
A strange sequence led to overtime. Pittsburgh took three straight delay of game penalties late in the third, and the Capitals tied it on the power play to save their season.
Briefly. After a miraculous stick save from Capitals forward Jay Beagle in overtime, Bonino roared back and beat Holtby to finish off the Capitals in six games.